October 2004 News

Lone says coordinators sabotage Pakistani journalistsí visit

9 October 2004
News Network International

Srinagar: Chairman of Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Conference, Sajjad Lone, has alleged that co-ordinators of the Pakistani journalists' visit had actually sabotaged the basic objective of the SAFMA initiative to bridge the communications gap between Azad Kashmir and India- occupied Kashmir. He described it as the 'Kashmiris' bad luck' that self-styled non-Kashmiri activists had conducted the guest mediapersons to utter confusion and embarrassment in Srinagar. † In an exclusive interview with the EXCELSIOR, son of the slain leader Abdul Gani Lone, Sajjad Lone, said that the co-coordinators of the tour had arranged the itinerary of the Pakistani journalists 'either according to their own likes and dislikes or as per a sinister design'. † Asked to elaborate, Sajjad quipped 'Didn't you mark that 16 journalists were produced before the self-styled leaders who don't have even 15 supporters?' † 'Among all leaders, I am the only one who could arrange a gathering of over 35,000 people on one occasion in the last ten years. Those who call themselves as All Parties Hurriyat Conference couldn't get even 5,000 people. I think May 21 and 22 this year have proved who actually are the real representatives of the peoples' aspiration', Sajjad added. † 'The journalists were allowed to meet only a couple of the sane voices. Apart from that, wherever they went, they were subjected to embarrassment and humiliation', Sajjad said. He asserted that credibility and integrity of the Pakistani journalists was deliberately made suspect when on their arrival the State Government and the ruling party were advised to steal the show. 'What worse damage can you cause to a journalist than making his or her integrity doubtful in the eyes of the common people?', he asked. † He was, however, optimistic that the Pakistani journalists were men and women of great professional experience and insight and they were competent to see through such designs. He described it as an irony that those Kashmiris, who had sacrificed their nears and dears in the last 16 years of the separatist movement, were been consigned to backstage while as those non-Kashmiris, who had capitalised on the blood of Kashmiri youth, were claiming to be their leaders. He alleged that one of the co-ordinators had turned the whole show of the Pakistani journalists visit into a 'family affair'. † Sajjad Lone claimed that only National Conference, PDP, Jamaat-e-Islami, Awami Action Committee and Peoples Conference had a visible mass base in Kashmir valley and all other parties and organisations existed on newspapers alone. According to him, 'one-man organisations' were just being used in a numerical game by New Delhi and Islamabad. † He welcomed the current process of talks between India and Pakistan but asked Gen Musharraf not to speak on behalf of the Kashmiris. 'Let Mr Musharraf speak for Pakistan nor for Kashmir. †


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