December 2001 News

International community eager to resolve Kashmir: Malik

12 December 2001
The Daily Excelsior

Srinagar: Prospects of an early resolution of Kashmir issue have brightned with change in international perception raising hopes of a serious initiative, senior Hurriyat leader and president of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Mohammad Yaseen Malik, said today. ''There is a change in the perception of international community about Kashmir issue and they are very much serious to resolve it, Malik, who returned from the United States recently, told reporters. Asked whether a major initiative to resolve Kashmir issue was in the offing and who will be the broker, Malik said ''wait, we are waiting. International community will be the broker.... To resolve Kashmir issue''. The news conference was held at Hurriyat headquarters at Rajbagh where almost all senior leaders of the Alliance including its chairman Prof Abdul Gani Bhat, who in his opening remarks said ''December 12 will be an important event not only in Kashmir but in the United States of America too. How, wait for just 12 hours, you will know how.'' At the end of the news conference Prof Bhat was asked to elaborate on his remark, but he repeated ''wait for 12 hours. I trust the events will not disappoint either me or you''. Malik said the dust is settling in Aghanistan and there also seems to be positive changes in Pakistan that will help resolve Kashmir (issue) soon. However, he too did not elaborate. The JKLF leader also saw role for international community especially the US in resolving the Kashmir issue saying ''we believe the international community can be of great help in solving Kashmir. We believe it is worth it for the international community to get involved. Particularly, the US has a role to play since for the first time in its history it is having good relations with both India and Pakistan. ''It is our belief that maintaining and building these relationships will give the US a better chance of taking a crack at Kashmir and helping all three parties to come to the negotiation table. I think the United States is concerned about peace and stability in the region and about the suffering of people of Kashmir,'' Malik said. Replying to questions, he said ''I am quite encouraged by the direction the international community seems to be heading to on Kashmir. I think the visit of Colin Powel, the statements of a number of heads of states like Germany and Japan, other statements from the United Nations Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) chief in Srinagar, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson have all focused attention on the need to solve the Kashmir dispute.'' Malik said ''the situation is not good in Kashmir, it is not good for the people of Kashmir, it is not good for diplomacy in Kashmir, and it is not good for India and Pakistan as it can always escalate into major conflict.'' Malik parried questions about the ongoing armed struggle in Kashmir. Asked was there a demand within America to stop armed struggle in Kashmir, Malik said he did not discuss such issues with the Americans. Asked whether September 11 incident has rendered the gun irrelevant in Kashmir, Malik avoided a direct answer but said ''in the wake of September 11 attacks, Kashmir has definitely come back on the radar screen of the international community. In the war against terrorism there is a growing appreciation that its long-term success depends not only on military battles but on combating the roots of terrorism by combating the factors that create an atmosphere for severe poverty and prolonged injustice''. At the same time, he said, after September 11 incident New Delhi started attempting to manipulate world perceptions and tried to link the Kashmir struggle to terrorism and the happenings in Afghanistan. ''In a very cunning way, India directly and indirectly encouraged a few insignificant people to go for emotional gestures that would link Kashmir to Taliban or terrorism in the eyes of the world community.'' Malik said. The JKLF chief said that a golden opportunity for peace and justice had come as international focus was on Kashmir and in such a way that will help India and Pakistan realise that it is time this bloody conflict was resolved. However, he warned that the goal of freedom would remain a distant dream if people of the state failed to unite and speak in one voice. He also appealed Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister A B Vajpayee to take concrete steps to bring peace in the region.


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