APHC Factions Urged To Unite
14 December 2005
Muzaffarabad: A senior leader of the Kashmir freedom movement Prof Muhammad Ashraf Saraf has made a passionate appeal to both the factions of the All Parties Hurriyet Conference (APHC) to unite forthwith to face the arduous challenges looming on the horizon of Kashmir. 'It is time to unite and to launch a larger consultative initiative within the Kashmiri ranks', Saraf said in an exclusive interview with the Daily Pakistan Observer on current Kashmir scenario. Mirwaiz Umar Farooque Chairman of the Awami Action Committee and J&K Hurriyet Tehrik chairman Syed Ali Gilani are currently struggling under the same APHC with Ansari and Gilani groups respectively, to achieve the goal of Kashmiris' self-determination right.Responding to a volley of queries from Pakistan Observer Prof Ashraf Saraf, described himself as the spokesman of the Mirwaiz APHC and deplored disunity among the ranks of 'this representative Kashmiri forum-APHC' and appealed to both Mirwaiz Umar and Ali Gilani to unify their groups to revitalise Kashmir struggle. Question: Does the idea of United States of Kashmir have any relevance in the eyes of the general masses of Kashmir to their unrealised dream of Kashmir? Answer: 'It is an idea. At this stage it can be described as a positive thought. But it lacks Kashmiri consensus. Therefore at this stage it can be classified as Mirwaiz Umar Farooque's personal opinion in his capacity as chairman of the Awami Action Committee. As a matter of principle this should first have been thoroughly discussed on the APHC forum. Moreover it needs similarities of views on the levels of government of Pakistan and the Kashmiri political platforms. This proposal also needs a broader understanding among the Kashmiris, for instance, with the United Jihad Council'. Question: How do Kashmiris see the latest offer by president General Pervez Musharraf for 'demilitarisation and self-rule' in Kashmir? Answer: 'It is a sound proposal. It is discussible. But India won't reciprocate even on this liberal option too. We are fighting a war of freedom with India. We have already laid down unprecedented sacrifices in the way of our freedom. Here I would like to put a large question to India and to the international community - Has India any option to resolve Kashmir dispute outside of the Indian constitution? If she has any, that should be brought forth now. If she has none, then the question arises, is India prepared to accept president General Pervez Musharraf's latest formula? In both these cases the entire Kashmiri leadership will have to think deeply. If Indians think they are going to settle Kashmir outside of the framework of their constitution, then I take the authority to convince my colleagues. But none else than Kashmiris know better the Indian psyche and her insideness. She won't take trouble to respond on any offer'. In his overall assessment of the Kashmir situation Prof Saraf, who as a member of the Kashmiri delegations represented Kashmir in several international events in the past, has started displaying an element of bitterness over the 'division' of the All Parties Hurriyet Conference with the terse remark that 'my leadership can visit any part of the world it wishes to go, but I as member of the APHC cannot'. In this regard he recounted his own ordeal he had had to undergo in pursuing the path of Kashmir freedom from India, telling that 'I am a freed captive so far as my conscience is concerned. I have been sleeping on mosque floors during nights for over 13 months in pursuing my cause, but I did not lose heart. Instead it gave me additional strength'. 'I earnestly appeal to both factions, Ansari and Gilani, of the APHC to close their ranks at this time, develop oneness between themselves, march forward hand in hand. The seriousness of the current phase of our struggle must be understood by everybody. On any proposal on Kashmir settlement, there should be a discussion within the united APHC and consultation with the Jihad Council also especially with Syed Salahuddin, Ghulam Rasool Shah, Sh Jamilur Rahman and others for fashioning a common formula', he appealed in response to a question what role can he play to bind both factions together at this critical phase of their history. Asked as freedom seeker what ultimate dream of his reflects from the vastly bloodied fields of Kashmir, Prof Ashraf Saraf paused a little with his unrolled eyes saying, 'I wish to see Kashmir a land free from any discrimination hatred and intolerance, united with Pakistan and progressing towards its ideals'.