December 2002 News

Shabir Shah justifies presence of foreign militants

14 December 2002
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

SRINAGAR: Disillusioned with New Delhi''s policy of ''betrayal'' on Kashmir, the leader of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), Shabir Ahmed Shah, has justified the presence of foreign militants in Kashmir and says ''once they are satisfied that the issue is getting resolved politically they will quit''. Speaking to The Hindu , Mr Shah said the Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed''s People''s Democratic Party (PDP) had struck an ''emotional chord'' in Kashmir by promising many things to heal the wounds of the people. As for as the resolution of the Kashmir problem, the Mufti Government had little role but ''there is a difference between him and Farooq Abdullah as he talks of holding a dialogue with separatists and Pakistan and is trying to stop bloodshed and atrocities at the hands of the State agencies. Still we are monitoring the situation''. The Mufti had not kept the promise of releasing political detenus and seemed to have succumbed to the pressure. Justifying the presence of foreigners in the ranks of militancy, Mr. Shah said that wherever a nation was suppressed it was helped by others''. Kashmir was not an exception and those fighting here had no other interest like fighting elections or becoming ministers. ''Once they are convinced that India is ready to address the issue politically they will call it a day.'' He blamed the Central Government for ''contributing'' to the spurt in militancy by being ''stubborn''. Accusing the BJP-led Government of being ''insincere'' in handling the Kashmir problem, he said he was disappointed with the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee. ''I had pinned a lot of hopes on him thinking he would be another Gandhi or Nehru who would change history''. But unfortunately he was not allowed to do anything. All the Centre''s initiatives including the K.C. Pant mission (the one Mr. Shah welcomed amid severe criticism) were a ''mere eyewash''. The Kashmir Committee headed by Ram Jethmalani was also betrayed by the Centre, he claimed. When the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister made it clear in the Rajya Sabha that the KC Pant mission was authorised to talk to the separatists, they did and arranged a meeting with Mr. Advani but he backed out. He defended Pakistan saying it had agreed to be flexible on Kashmir. Its President, Pervez Musharraf, publicly announced that he was ready for talks anywhere anytime and that his Government was not stressing on its earlier ''hard stand'' said the DFP leader, once known as ''Nelson Mandela of Kashmir''. Mr. Shah said his party was ready to enter into a dialogue with the Centre. ''We believe in dialogue and are always ready for that''. That was why they responded positively to the initiatives irrespective of New Delhi''s ''insincere approach''.


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