April 2005 News

Pakistan has betrayed us: Dukhtaran chief

9 April 2005
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: The Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM) chief, Asiya Andrabi, said today that President Pervez Musharraf's Government had 'betrayed the Kashmiris' like it did the 'Taliban regime' in Afghanistan. Ms. Andrabi, who shot to fame in the early 1990s with her 'burqa' (veil) campaign in Kashmir, is known for her radical views. She has been playing hide- and-seek with the police for quite some time but agreed to talk to The Hindu at a 'safe place' in Srinagar. Sharing her 'bitter experience' with the Pakistan Government in recent months, Ms. Andrabi said: 'The Pakistan Government has compromised with India on a number of issues including the fencing along the artificial border. There seems to be a behind-the-curtain deal between Islamabad and New Delhi and we do not approve of it. I am telling you clearly that the Pakistan Government has betrayed us and it is a situation akin to what was done to the Taliban. There has to be a dialogue with Kashmiris included in it.' Ridiculing Pakistan's 'peace overtures' to India, she said: 'Musharraf is doing this on the directions of the United States as he is their agent. I agree that Pakistan's present role has been a setback to the Kashmir movement. At present we are fighting with both the Governments of India and Pakistan but I believe a new indigenous movement will come up here which will only talk about our cause because the traditional politicians have ditched us and are dancing to the tunes of either India or Pakistan. But I want to clarify that the Pakistan Government and the masses there are two different things and we have a lot of hopes about the latter.' Ms. Andrabi termed the commencement of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service as a 'sell-out on Kashmir.' I do not think this is any step towards resolution of the Kashmir issue, as is being propagated, said this hardline pro- Pakistan leader who had earlier denied the allegations of being a militant. She spent many years in jail and gave birth to her first son in custody.


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