Hurriyat Urges Militants To Join Political Mainstream
10 June 2005
The Daily Excelsior
Karachi: The moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference today called on militants operating in Jammu and Kashmir to join political mainstream. 'Now the time has come when political and militant wings sit together and formulate a strategy for the settlement of the Kashmir dispute,' Mirwaiz Umer Farooq told foreign journalists in the Pakistani port city of Karachi. He pointed to the example of Northern Ireland, where militants had backed a political solution to end decades of protestant-Catholic violence in the British-ruled province. Farooq is leading a group of moderate leaders from the All Parties Hurriyat Conference on a rare visit to Pakistan. 'At this juncture, political leadership should play a leading role with the support and consensus of militant leadership in finding a just solution to the Kashmir problem,' Farooq said. He also offered to give militant groups representation in Hurriyat. Meanwhile, after favouring fresh options other than the UN resolution for resolving the Kashmir issue, moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference has said efforts should be made to dismantle the 'artificial lines' dividing Kashmir. 'When we talked about Kashmir it means the entire territory of Kashmir and the artificial lines drawn between Kashmir must be dismantled,' Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told reporters at Islamabad . Farooq's statement assumes significance as it comes on the heels of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's assertion on similar lines that borders should be made 'irrelevant'. He had mooted a concept of 'soft borders' to resolve the issue. About his comments earlier that UN resolutions have failed, he said they were not deviating from their long-held stand, but was in favour of finding other options as the world body has failed to find any solution. Farooq said new ideas and options should be explored and treated on merit for finding a solution to the Kashmir problem as the United Nations had miserably failed over the past 57 years. 'We don't know what will be the final solution but relations with Pakistan would have a significant bearing on the outcome,' he said. Answering a question about hard-line leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani's criticism of their visit, he said the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) represented a joint struggle and one individual could not dictate terms. He said it was time for reinforcing unity of the Kashmiri people.