Vajpayee only can solve Kashmir problem: Sajjad
5 April 2004
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu: Peopleís Conference chairman Sajjad Lone said today that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is only leader in the country who can solve the Kashmir problem as he is very sincere in his approach. 'For the last five decades, Mr Vajpayee is only political leader in the country who has taken the most bold step (of peace initiative with Pakistan and the Hurriyat Conference) to find out a solution to the Kashmir problem', Mr Lone told the Excelsior here. 'I admire Vajpayee Ji as a statesman, great leader and a visionary. There is no leader in present political spectrum of the country, who can match him', he said hoping that the Prime Minister will not betray trust of the Kashmiris. He, however, cautioned that Mr Vajpayee is too small a force in the Indian set up where bureaucracy, security forces and other agencies dominate the scene. Describing as a 'positive development' the two rounds of dialogue between Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishan Advani and the Hurriyat Conference as well as the Indo- Pak peace initiative, Mr Lone asserted that the Hurriyat Conference didnít represent the people of Kashmir at all. 'We are not against the process of dialogue. The talks must go on and on. If the Hurriyat leaders manage to get something for the people of Kashmir, it will be good', he said. At the same time, he stressed that spectrum of the talks should be broadened and not confined to 'selected and tutored groups' of India. 'If the whole process is confined to the pleasure of Advani and the select group then it would be an ornamental exercise', he averred. 'If the process matures beyond the ornamental exercise, then we will sit and decide if to participate in the dialogue', he said. He hoped that the Centre would go by the latest gesture and not by the past when they had straightway thrown in the dustbin the Autonomy resolution passed by the National Conference Government in the Assembly. 'The regional realities in the coming decade may re-define the concept of resolution and make a clear distinction between solution and resolution. Regionalisation of South Asia could provide an impetus in the coming decade to provide a solution to the Kashmir problem', Sajjad said. At the same time, Mr Lone was all critical of the Hurriyat leaders including its chairman Abbas Ansari and Prof Abdul Gani Bhat alleging that they donít represent the people of Kashmir. 'It is my open challenge to the Hurriyat leaders that they canít win even a Municipal election from any part of the Kashmir valley leave aside winning an Assembly election', Sajjad Lone, whose brother Billal Lone had split the Peopleís Conference to become part of the Hurriyat, said. Sajjad, meanwhile, categorically denied that the Peopleís Conference has split. 'You will see the entire cadre with us on May 22 when we observe second death anniversary of Abdul Gani Lone', he declared and observed 'an individual doesnít matter for a party'. On the election boycott call given by some organisations, the Peopleís Conference leader said 'we are not contesting the elections and we have no role beyond that. We are not part of the election boycott call'. But, Mr Lone categorically declared that the PC has nothing to do with Nizam- ud-Din Bhat, a PDP candidate from Baramulla. The reports that Mr Bhat is a proxy candidate of the Peopleís Conference are malafide and aimed at creating confusion to eat into the support base of the party, he asserted. 'I canít risk the legacy of my father and hand it over on a platter to Nizam', he said. On the demand raised by some organisations including the PDP for a cease-fire against the militants, Mr Lone observed that the cease-fire can be successful only if the initiative is taken with sincerity. He hastened to add that the Peopleís Conference being a political party will always support any peace initiative. Reiterating his unequivocal stand against violence, Sajjad said 'violence is a coward affair. Anyone related with it is coward'. The PC chairman was of the view that the elections too could have been a solution to the Kashmir problem but the Government of India didnít lend any credibility to the Legislative Assembly. 'The last Assembly was marketed by the Centre all over projecting it as a body elected through the free and fair elections. However, the Centre didnít talk to the Assembly members and instead went for a dialogue with the Hurriyat', he regretted. Describing healing touch of the PDP Government as a 'political concept manufactured in the laboratory of Home Minister', Sajjad said that (Chief Minister) Mufti Sayeed has been asked to market it while the BJP has been told to oppose it.