Timeframe for Kashmir settlement sought
24 February 2005
Our Staff Correspondent
Muazaffarabad: A militant leader turned peace activist on Thursday said if the Indian government gave a timeframe to resolve the Kashmir issue and the world powers, mainly the US, stood guarantors to it then Kashmiri fighters could adopt a political course. 'Kashmiri fighters can help India and Pakistan carry forward the peace process, because basically we are a peace-loving people and earnestly desire lasting peace be established in our homeland,' said Tanveer ul Islam, former chairman of the United Jihad Council and secretary general of non- governmental organization Sawera Foundation. 'Kashmiri fighters would support and strengthen all those confidence building measures between the two countries which culminate in the freedom of their motherland,' he told a foreign broadcasting network team which visited him at the Sawera Model School. The school is one of the educational institutions of the NGO where it provides free education to the children of Kashmiri martyrs, refugees and internally- displaced people. Mr Tanveer pointed out that Kashmiri mujahideen had not taken up arms by choice but in fact it was failure of the efforts to find a peaceful settlement that compelled them to go for the armed struggle. 'The objective of that struggle is also to achieve a durable peace through early settlement of the long-running Kashmir problem.' 'If India proves with its deeds that it is ready to resolve the Kashmir issue then the mujahideen can also think about the option of laying down arms,' he said in response to a question. 'India should declare cease fire inside Kashmir, considerably reduce the number of its troops after withdrawing them from civilian residential areas, repeal draconian laws and release the political prisoners to prove its sincerity,' he said. Mr Tanveer is a member of a delegation of Kashmiri politicians and journalists which the British government has invited to the UK for two weeks to study the Northern Ireland conflict.