September 2002 News

Shabir Shah may back some independents in J&K polls

4 September 2002
The Hindustan Times

Jammu: Prominent separatist leader Shabir Shah is likely to support some independent candidates in the assembly elections, though his party will not participate in it. Shah told the Hindustan Times that this would be his way of “demonstrating to the world that the people are with (him)”. Shah, the chief of the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party, which he formed after parting company with the All- Party Hurriyat Conference, said, “How to support and whom to support will be discussed threadbare at (a party) meeting.” Shah strenuously denied reports that he would support either Congress or People''s Democratic Party (PDP) candidates. The PDP is headed by Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. “This (claim) is ridiculous,” Shah said. He added that some people had tried to create this impression because he had met Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. “I met Ghulam Nabi Azad as a fellow Kashmiri. He invited me for a cup of tea when I was coming out of (former Prime Minister) Chandra Shekhar''s residence in Delhi. If I can meet Sonia Gandhi, what is the harm in meeting Azad. That doesn''t mean that I support their party. It is nothing but a falsehood,” Shah said. About his meeting with the Pakistani deputy high commissioner, Shah said: “(There is nothing to be apologetic about it. I met him and told him (to) convey to (Pakistan) President Pervez Musharraf that he should also take steps to resolve the Kashmir crisis. After all Pakistan is an important party (to the) Kashmir (dispute).”


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