Militants Not Against Peace Talks, Says Salahuddin
2 March 2004
The Indian Express
Srinagar: Pakistan-based supreme commander of the largest Kashmiri militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen Syed Salahuddin has said militants were not against the ongoing peace talks between India and Pakistan but the dialogue should be aimed at finding a solution to the Kashmir issue acceptable to the people of the state. 'We have no objection to the ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan. The objectives of the talks should be to find a solution to the Kashmir issue acceptable to the people of Kashmir,' he said in an interview to local daily Srinagar News published today. Salahuddin categorically ruled out division of J-K as a solution to the issue. 'No such formula would be acceptable to us. We will oppose any such move,' he said. About Pakistan's support to the militants, he said no government in Islamabad could ever think of withdrawing support to the Kashmiris or deviate from the chosen policy because Pakistan has unmatched sympathies with the Kashmir cause. About displaced Kashmiri Pandits, Salahuddin said they can return to their motherland provided they join the 'freedom struggle'. He also said militants would oppose the government's move to carve out a safe zone for Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley. On the upcoming LS polls, he said the people of J-K should prove their loyalty towards the 'freedom movement' and desist from participating in the polls.