Peerzada Invites Separatists To Participate In Civic Polls
21 December 2004
The Times of India
Srinagar: Congress today asked the Hurriyat Conference and other separatists to join the civic polls scheduled to be held in February to prove their representative character. President of J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) Peerzada Mohammed Sayeed said civic elections have thrown another opportunity to Hurriyat Conference and other separatist leaders to prove their claim that they are the representatives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. 'Let all separatists including Hurriyat Conference join the civic polls. We will welcome them if they contest the polls. It is an opportunity for the separatists to prove their representative character. It is they (separatists) who are beating the drum that they are representatives of the people, but they have never proved their claim. Let them prove it first', he said. Peerzada noted that 2002 assembly elections are regarded free and fair not only nationally but also internationally. 'International community has attested that 2002 assembly polls were free and fair and those elected are the genuine representatives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Hurriyat Conference cannot deny this fact. They have not participated in the polls. Let them join the civic polls this time', he said. The invitation to separatists to join the electoral fray came days after Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Mohammed Yasin Malik challenged Mufti Mohammed Sayeed to contest against him in 'internationally monitored' polls to prove the representa tive character. Peerzada said that all the 87 MLAs elected by the people in Jammu and Kashmir in 2002 are the representatives of the people and they ought to be included in any dialogue process between centre and the people of Jammu and Kashmir. 'The centre should not talk to separatists only but also with the elected representatives of Jammu and Kashmir. Not only the ruling alliance but opposition parties also represent the people in the state. They have to be included in a dialogue process. It is necessary so that Kashmir issue is addressed in a rightful and genuine manner', he said. Jammu and Kashmir PCC chief also noted that no other party other than those who contested and won the polls in 2002 and 2004 Lok Sabha polls have the people's mandate. 'We say it with full confidence that we are the only party who have the people's mandate and confidence. This is enough of qualification to join the talks on Kashmir. If anyone has doubt, let them prove it', he challenged.