July 2001 News

Let J&K be united and handed to its real masters

13 July 2001
The Asian Age
Yusuf Jameel

Srinagar: Kashmiri politicians are keen to have a finger in the pie. With no time remaining for Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s historic meeting with Pakistani President, General Pervez Musharraf, at Agra, most of them insist it would prove a futile exercise mainly because they are being taken for granted. Others are willing to wait and watch till the outcome of the summit. As perceptions differ, the common Kashmiri is keeping his fingers crossed. The crucial question that haunts him is what next if the talks fail to make headway for Kashmir issue? The Hurriyat Conference may have a point when it insists its leaders should have a one-to-one meeting with President Musharraf, as merely drinking tea with him might not help. But how do other leaders in Kashmir feel about the Agra summit. The Asian Age spoke to various Kashmiri politicians, other activists and leaders of some militant outfits to know their viewpoints. The general secretary, JKLF (Amanullah faction), Dr Haider Hijazi said, “Given the circumstances, if both India and Pakistan decide on the doctrine of ‘give and take,’ let the divided state of Jammu and Kashmir be united and then handed over to its real masters, the Kashmiris, and accept a glorious, prosperous, respectful and peaceful future for the rest of the subcontinent.” The chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Dr Farooq Abdullah said, “The Agra summit has raised hope of peace among my people who have been at the receiving end due to the animosity between India and Pakistan. They are the victims of Pakistan-sponsored militancy. I pray for its (the summits) success. We all want to get rid of the gun that has ruined our lives. Nothing big, however, should be expected in the first meeting. There can be no miracles. The two know Kashmir is yearning for peace as it has witnessed colossal damage and loss of human lives. The two countries are faced with pulls and pressures and the difficult situation could be overcome by a sagacious approach to the problems.” The leader of the Democratic Freedom party, Shabir Ahmed Shah said, “Both India and Pakistan ought to involve the people of Kashmir, if at all, they are serious about the issue. This, I’m sure, will happen sooner or later because they just cannot get away with it. We the people of Jammu and Kashmir and their leadership need to formulate a united policy on the whole issue, to welcome the outcome of the summit if it is meaningful and effective aimed at resolving Kashmir and to intensify our peaceful struggle if they do something reverse.” Chairman of the National Front, Nayeem Ahmed Khan, said, “It would have been better if the principal party to the dispute, the people of Kashmir, had also been involved in the peace process at this stage itself. Since this is not happening we’ll not make an issue of it provided India and Pakistan move ahead with desirable regard and respect for the wishes and aspirations of the people.” General Abdullah, chief commander of the Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, said, “The dispute cannot be resolved by setting up visa centres or reopening the Srinagar- Rawalpindi road. It is an issue facing the Muslim nation of Kashmir; their honour is involved. Therefore, we must not allow ourselves to fall into the trap.” We cannot afford permitting the supreme sacrifices made by our martyrs go waste. The Hurriyat Conference is a divided lot; hence cannot lead the nation. It has simply failed to deliver. ”Syeda Aasiya Andrabi, leader of the Dukhtaran-e-Millat, said, “Our mujahideen brothers must intensify the jihad as it is the only way out. Half of Kashmir was liberated through jihad way back in 1947-48 and the part under the Indian occupation will also be freed by same principle-fight the enemy till the last man. The people who cherish their goal should strengthen jihadi groups at all levels. We must not allow ourselves to remain dependent on Pakistan, she might back out and if such an eventuality arises we must have gained enough strength to carry our mission forward on our own.” Muhammad Shaffi Qureshi, the president of the Jammu and Kashmir Congress said, “We’ve been in favour of talks from the very beginning. It is wiser and better to settle matters by mutual negotiations. More than 50 years have passed since we could not reach a settlement. Governments kept changing in both the countries although in a different fashion and the process of reconciliation was affected adversely. General Musharraf seems to be responsive and very eager to settle and solve the problems. The way he has been talking to his own people suggests that he realises what his country’s real problems, economic or otherwise, are and how best these could be resolved. But lately one gets the impression that he is again under pressure, yet he says he will come to India with an open mind, hence there are chances of a change taking place in the region. The controversy over the high-tea could have easily been avoided. Unfortunately, many people are trying to make it a prestigious issue. I strongly feel that this opportunity should not go waste.” Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, the former home minister and leader of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples’ Democratic Party said, “Time is opportune for India and Pakistan to de-emotionalise the Kashmir issue. It is also good that India has realised the indispensability of the inclusion of Pakistan in any form of negotiations on Kashmir. Kashmiris crave for peace but in a just and honourable manner. To achieve this objective, New Delhi has to demilitarise the atmosphere in Jammu and Kashmir by recalling the regular from the streets and dispatching them to the border or the barracks. The solution of vexed Kashmir issues lies in peaceful negotiations only and this basic truth generates hope with regard to the summit.”


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