Kashmir Jehad To Go On: Hizbul Chief
19 May 2003
Islamabad: The chief of the Hizbul Mujahideen has vowed to continue his jehad in Jammu and Kashmir despite peace moves by Pakistan and India. Syed Salahuddin, the Hizb's 'supreme commander', said pressure from the world community or Pakistani authorities could not end the military campaign in Indian Kashmir, the Dawn newspaper reported Monday. Talking to reporters Sunday at Rawalpindi, Salahuddin said negotiations between Pakistan and India on the Kashmir issue would not have any impact on the activities of the mujahideen. Another report in Dawn quoted Azad Jammu and Kashmir 'prime minister' Sikandar Hayat Khan as saying that he supported the division of Jammu and Kashmir, with Muslim-majority areas joining Pakistan and the rest remaining with India. Khan, talking to newsmen at the Kashmir House here on Sunday, strongly opposed the idea of an independent Kashmir, saying such a tiny state surrounded by India, China and Pakistan could neither defend itself nor ensure its sovereignty and independence. Salahuddin said: 'No international pressure can stop us from our activities.' He claimed there were three parties to the Kashmir dispute - India, Pakistan and the mujahideen. 'The issue could be resolved only if all those groups agreed,' he said, noting that bilateral talks could not resolve the problem. Expressing fear that Pakistan might be pressured to crack down on the mujahideen, Salahuddin said that such a move would never be accepted. The supreme council of the mujahideen would run its activities independently. Sikandar Hayat Khan said he endorsed the formula that suggested that the Chenab river become the boundary after the division of Jammu and Kashmir. This, he said, would provide a natural distribution of Muslim and Hindu populations. Acceptance of the Line of Control as the permanent border would be neither 'practical nor acceptable', he claimed. The Muslim-dominated areas of the Kashmir Valley, Jammu, Rajouri and Ladakh along with the Northern Areas could be merged with Pakistan while leaving the rest with India, he said. Khan said India could live without Kashmir but Pakistan could not because of its economic and moral stakes in the disputed territory. He supported the idea of approaching talks on Kashmir in a spirit of give and take.