July 2002 News

Row between hurriyat, PoK Govt deepens

28 July 2002
The Daily Excelsior

Islamabad: With Assembly elections round the corner in Jammu and Kashmir, differences between Pakistan chapter of Hurriyat and Pakistan- occupied Kashmir Government deepened as demands were raised to replace the ruling dispensation in the PoK. Raising a banner of revolt, Hurriyat leaders charged the PoK Government with having failed to provide Kashmiri immigrants the rights of franchise and employment. They also alleged that the Government had failed to play any role in projecting Kashmir issue on international fora. Deepening the crisis, PoK Prime Minister Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khanís representative Haider Farooq yesterday failed to turn up at a meeting with the Hurriyat leadership for reconciliation talks. Frustrated over not able to find a solution, Hurriyat demanded the PoK Government, led by Muslim Conference, be replaced by the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). ''The RCC shall be replacing an elected Government and it shall be an arrangement extraneous to the Constitution of 1974. The vires of our demand are that the Government of PoK is trying to deceive the people of Kashmir and we are deeply concerned in this regard. This may of course qualify as a sufficient cause to make a demand for its replacement by RCC,'' said a letter sent by the Hurriyat to various organisations. The differences arose after former PoK President Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan, a moderate appointed as the chairman of National Kashmir Committee, extended a tacit backing for J&K polls. They grew even sharper as some Hurriyat leaders indicated their willingness to take part in the J&K polls which were denounced as sham elections by militants. Qayyum was quoted as saying by The Dawn newspaper that he was not opposed to elections in J&K provided they were free and fair and not construed as an alternative to right of self-determination of Kashmir people. He also said the contestants should not be made to taking oath under Indian Constitution and the elections be monitored by international observers. ''If these conditions are met, we would not oppose the elections,'' he said. Qayyum favoured a process to allow Kashmiris from both sides of the border to meet each other. There should also be exchange of delegations, promotion of trade and creation of a demilitarised zone at LoC where Kashmiris could sit together to discuss the solution, he said. But the Hurriyat, in its letter, said there was a ''potential possibility'' that Qayyum along with the PoK premier might misguide Pakistan to take a ''wrong stepí. Pakistan- based outfit Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for three recent political murders in J&K threatening to kill anyone who took part in Assembly polls.


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