April 2002 News

Kashmir leader in UK criticises Sharjah meet

26 April 2002
The Asian Age

Srinagar: Less than a week after a group of Kashmiri separatist leaders met in Dubai to discuss measures to bring peace in Jammu and Kashmir, one of the activists who reportedly participated in the contentious meeting chose to censure his colleagues on Thursday for their criticism of jihad as a way out. In a hard-hitting statement, Dr Ayub Thakur, president of the London-based World Kashmir Freedom Movement, asserted that by condemning jihad and advocating dialogue as a means to solve Kashmir issue, these leaders have only disregarded sacrifices made by the people towards the cause. “In fact, the political weight of Hurriyat Conference leaders is only because of jihad which they had waged until few years ago and which thousands of Kashmiri youths are waging to press India allow Kashmiris their freedom,” Dr Thakur said. He added that without jihad the conglomerate leaders would be reduced to non-entities. Reacting to a series of statements by Hurriyat Conference leaders Mirwaiz Omar Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone and Pakistan’s National Kashmir Committee chairperson Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan after a meeting in Dubai last week, Dr Thakur rebuked the Dubai Plan, saying: “Neither Mr Lone or Mr Farooq are practising jihad nor is Sardar Qayyum. They can’t decide about stopping jihad as only mujahideen could decide about it and they have not authorised anybody to decide about it on their behalf.” Dr Thakur, a Kashmiri expatriate from the Valley who has been politically active in Britain, denied he was also present at Dubai conference. “My name was deliberately included in order to give credence to the plan since I have always had crisp and clear stance on Kashmir issue,” he said. He accused the two Hurriyat Conference leaders of speaking “India’s language and damaging the glorious sacrifices of tens of thousands of Kashmiris. Towing of this line by Sardar Qayyum is more unfortunate because he is president of Kashmir committee in Paksitan and his support will give impression that Pakistani government is behind it.” He alleged that Sardar Qayyum’s support to the Dubai Plan has also damaged Pakistan’s “principled stance” and Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s “courageous stand” taken so far on the international fora on Kashmir issue. “It will hurt Kashmiri people’s feelings towards Pakistan and the value they give to Pakistan for its moral, diplomatic and political support to their just cause,” he asserted, saying: “India will capitalise on it to push further its propaganda that what is happening in Kashmir is not freedom struggle but terrorism.” Dr Thakur’s statement came a day after Jamaat-e-Islami leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, declared in Srinagar, “Jihad will continue as it was not started at anybody’s behest.” Mr Geelani who like Prof. Abdul Gani Butt, present chairperson of the Hurriyat Conference, has complained that both Mr Lone and the Mirwaiz kept them in dark about the Dubai conference, spoke about the conglomerate’s “resolve” not only to stay away from the upcoming assembly elections but also to launch a statewide campaign for the poll boycott. “We stick to our decision taken way back in 1996 that the Hurriyat Conference will not participate in so-called elections held within the parametres of the Indian Constitutions but will also ask people to stay away from the sham exercise,” he told reporters here. Syed Geelani’s categorical statement on the boycott of the assembly elections came close on the heels of the Mirwaiz saying in New Delhi on his arrival from Dubia that the Hurriyat Conference may well reconsider its stance on the polls provided India came forward with a new resolve towards solving the Kashmir dispute amicably. A similar statement appearing in newspapers was earlier attributed to Mr. Lone. Mr. Geelani would not agree with the notion that the September 11 and December 13 terror strikes have changed the whole scenario in South Asia particularly the presence of Jihadis in Kashmir was tainting the otherwise indigenous “freedom struggle.” “I firmly believe that the oppressor has only become more obstinate and shameless,” he said without naming his own colleague in the Hurriyat Conference Mr. Lone who made this observation in an interview shortly after the three-day Dubai conference was over. Syed Geelani again without naming anybody wanted to send a message across all those who spoke about reconciliation rather sounded exhausted that “nobody should remain under the illusion that the struggle based on truth and justice will die down with his betraying the cause.” Asked if explanation will be sought from the Mirwaiz and Mr. Lone for not taking the Hurriyat Conference into confidence on the Dubai meet, Syed Geelani said that only the conglomerate would take a decision to this effect. DR. Ayub has, meanwhile, accused the two Hurriyat Conference leaders of having “fallen into a trap.” He asserted that “they all are seasoned leaders and hold responsible positions…they might have been playing into Indian hands without knowing it.” He reiterated that Kashmiri youths have “rendered historic sacrifices for freedom and they will never accept any forced solution against the interests of Kashmiri population.” He insisted that the Kashmiris took up the arms only because India denied them their right to self-determination and all Kashmiris support the ongoing jihad. “If India holds plebiscite as promised by UN resolutions jihad will end automatically,” he said. The Mirwaiz refused to react to Dr. Ayub’s charge. Mr. Lone is away in the US to receive specialised treatment for his ailments.


Return to the Archives 2002 Index Page

Return to Home Page