April 2002 News

PM must address our issues: Shabir Shah

15 April 2002
The Statesman

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom party (JKDFP) chief Mr Shabir Shah today said his party was ready to contest the forthcoming Assembly polls only if the Prime Minister is ready to address some of their issues. The polls should be held under supervision of international observers including United Nations and intellectual observers from India and Pakistan, Mr Shah said. He told The Statesman that it was time for Hurriyat chief Abdul Gani Bhatt to retire. Bhatt had ruined the Hurriyat Conference, he said. Also known as Nelson Mandela of Kashmir for having spent most of his life in jails, Mr Shah said his party believes in the sanctity of the democratic process and hence is not averse to elections in the state. “But the Centre should address our issues through dialogue,” he said. “I feel talks should be held before the elections and if it is decided at the talks that elections be fought first, we are ready. All this for a permanent and peaceful solution of the Kashmir problem,” Mr Shah said. He said Mr Vajpayee was very sincere in his efforts to restore normalcy and initiate a peace proce. But Mr KC Pant, Centre’s interlocutor on Kashmir, had failed to create an atmosphere of confidence.


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