Hizbul Mujahideen Chief Urges Pak To Reconsider Ceasefire With India
15 December 2003
The Pakistan Tribune
Rawalpindi: Kashmiri Mujahideen (freedom fighters) will continue to attack military targets in Indian held Kashmir despite a ceasefire between the armies of India and Pakistan, Syed Salahuddin, leader of the pro- Pakistani group Hizbul Mujahideen said on Monday. Guerrilla commander also urged Islamabad to reconsider its ceasefire with India, saying it had a 'demoralising impact' on the 14-year-old separatist struggle. 'There is no question of a ceasefire by us under present circumstances,' he said. 'As long as Indian troops remain in Kashmir, the target-oriented activities of Kashmiri mujahideen will continue,' he said in an exclusive interview with Online on Monday . Salahuddin accused India of taking 'unfair advantage' of the ceasefire by accelerating efforts to erect a fence along the 740-km military line dividing Kashmir. 'We request the (Pakistani) elders to assess the situation,' he said. 'If we are getting any advantage from these unilateral initiatives then it is well and good....if not then they should withdraw them.' He also rejected Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's proposal of single currency and joint defence, saying it reflects the real mentality of Indian leaders who want Indian dominance in the region. Salahuddin said his group, one of the largest fighting Indian rule in Kashmir, would not silence its guns unless India showed 'real seriousness' about peace. He said he was not hopeful that a visit by Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to Islamabad next month would yield results. Vajpayee has said he would be happy to see Pakistani Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali during the South Asian summit in Islamabad, but Indian officials have ruled out any direct talks with Pakistan on Kashmir. 'It is not a matter of any concern for us....because it does not address the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir,' he said. 'No amount of confidence building measures or peace initiatives can improve relations between Pakistan and India unless this issue is resolved,' he added. Salahuddin said the LOC was an 'artificial line' and defended the right of Kashmiris to cross it. 'It is the basic right of Kashmiris to trample and cross this artificial line and no charter or the law of world can stop them from doing so.'