Hawks in Govt sabotaged Kashmir peace process, Says Shabir Shah
1 September 2002
The Indian Express
New Delhi: Sounding critical of the decision of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani of not meeting him, Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah on Sunday said hawks in the Central government had sabotaged a ''serious effort'' to resolve Kashmir issue. ''We have been neither against the democratic process nor we are scared of fighting elections. But mere change of government is not our motive, we want to resolve Kashmir issue,'' Shah, who has been camping in the national Capital meeting various leaders, told PTI in New Delhi. Shah said some of the ''hawks in the government had managed to put impediments not only in his path but also in the path of Kashmir Committee led by Ram Jethmalani whom Kashmiris see as their friends''. ''What is the policy of the government vis-a-vis Kashmiris not known to us. First, they invite separatist leaders for talks through the Kashmir Committee and then back out,'' Shah said. Shah flayed statements of BJP accusing Congress chief Sonia Gandhi of attempting to sabotage the Kashmir peace process saying ''BJP today stands exposed in the eyes of public for not being sincere in resolving the Kashmir issue''. BJP had reportedly blamed Gandhi for the change of statement by Shah of not participating in the polls. The separatist leader had earlier agreed ''in principle'' to participate in the elections.