Hijacker: Kashmiris Will Decide Fate Of State
17 October 2003
The Asian Age
Srinagar: India's first hijacker, who incidentally is a Kashmiri, said on Wednesday that neither India nor Pakistan could decide the fate of the people of the state. He also ruled out any role for the United States to play in finding out a solution to the imbroglio. Hashim Qureshi who after spending about three decades in exile in Pakistan and Netherlands returned to India two years ago told a public rally here, 'we the people of Jammu and Kashmir alone shall decide its future.' He also strongly advocated the reunification of the state. Hashim who after his release from a jail here in 2001 launched his own Jammu Kashmir Democratic Liberation Party criticised both India and Pakistan for their alleged indifferent attitude towards the problem of the people of the state. 'They have subject the people of the state to incarceration. Every day innocent civilians are targeted in shelling along the ceasefire line. People are being virtually butchered in every nook and corner of the state. Every single Kashmiri home is suffering,' he asserted. Hashim who along with cousin Mohammed Ashraf-both residents of downtown Srinagar- hijacked Indian Airlines Fokerfriendship to Lahore while on route Srinagar-Jammu fight in 1971 said that if India and Pakistan were interested in peace they should allow the people of Jammu and Kashmir to determine their future. 'Even when an Indian soldier is killed it makes us sad because after all he too is somebody's son, brother, husband or father,' he said and wanted an end to the bloodshed.