Pakistan supporting jokers in Kashmir, says JKCHR
26 February 2006
The Daily Times
Islamabad: The representative of a Kashmiri non-governmental organisation (NGO) has said that Pakistan and India have “privatised” the Kashmir issue, and has accused the Pakistan government of supporting “a group of jokers” claiming to represent the Kashmiris. “The present leadership of Kashmir are paid politicians who are undemocratic and are not concerned with the freedom movement of Kashmir,” said Dr Syed Nazir Geelani, the Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights (JKCHR) secretary general, in an interview with Daily Times on Sunday. “The Kashmiri people will not accept any imposed Muhammad Ali Jinnah or Fatima Jinnah.” He said that the 15-year militancy in the region had claimed the lives of several prominent Kashmiris. “We support the militancy. But it is unfortunate if Pakistan wants to use it as a bargaining tool,” he said. He said that the deaths of thousands of Kashmiris in the last 15 years could be a significant factor in tilting the numerical balance to one side or the other in case of a referendum. “Take the example of Quebec, which could not gain independence because it was short of a mere 2,500 votes,” he said. Pakistan had wasted a chance to legitimise the militancy by signing an agreement with the Indian government when the militant leadership had announced a ceasefire, he said. Geelani said that the people dealing with the Kashmir issue from the Pakistani side should be democratic and sincere. He said that his organisation will file a case against Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in the International Court of Justice for failing to fight Kashmir’s case as chairman of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council. “The prime minister of Pakistan failed to fulfil his constitutional obligations as chairman of the AJK council,” he said. “We can also file a complaint against him in the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir,” he said. He said that protesting and projecting the rights of the Kashmiris is the Pakistan premier’s responsibility according to Pakistan’s constitution. The JKCHR secretary general said that the Kashmiri freedom movement started earlier than 1990. “The movement is 126 years old. It started in 1877 and after partition, Kashmir was stuck between the two countries,” he said. He said that a “divide and control” policy had been implemented in Kashmir, which had been partitioned into Srinagar, Muzaffarabad and Gilgit. “Nowhere in the world is a nation controlled politically and militarily as in Kashmir,” he said. He said that Pakistan gained control of Gilgit and Baltistan under the Karachi Accord of 1949. “This (accord) is against Article 257 of the Pakistani constitution. Kashmiri leaders signed the agreement and today, the AJK leadership is not allowed to even enter Gilgit or Baltistan,” he said. He said that Pakistan had to grant the same status to Gilgit and Baltistan as Kashmir. Geelani rejected the idea of self-rule in Kashmir. “If Kashmir becomes one unit, only then is self rule possible. Self-rule separately in the three states is impossible,” he said,adding that Pakistan was “a friend” to Kashmir because it supported self-determination. However, “Pakistan does not understand our case and takes actions which harm the Kashmiri movement,” he added.