March 2006 News

Malik wants referendum on both sides of Kashmir

27 March 2006
Kashmir Images

Karachi: A permanent solution to the longstanding Kashmir conflict can only by achieved if the people of the disputed Valley are equally engaged in the peace process. Giving his idea about of how to determine the "true leadership" of Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front JKLF chariman Yasin Malik said yesterday, "I suggest holding a referendum of both parts of Kashmir controlled by Pakistan and India and the party or group which gets a man-date from the people should be given representation in the tripartite dialogue to resolve this dispute once and for all." Speaking during the high-profile conference held on the third day of the Word Social Forum in Karachi, Malik said, "A full-scale and fair referendum would finally lbring the true leadership of the Kashmiris who will be accepted by the rest to represent our people in the dialogue," he said. He declared that 85 percent of the people Valley wanted total freedom while only 15 per-cent of them wanted to be part of Pakistan. "Both countries should engage our representatives as equal stakeholders in the process and this, I assure you, will be in the larger national interest of the two countries," he said. "The peace process should be spread to the grassroots so that no young man like the Yasin Malik of 15 years ago should see the gun as his only option for the rights of his people," he said. "I abandoned the violent option after Kuldip Nayar promised me the support of Indian civil society. I threw away the gun at a time when 30,000 armed fighters were present in Kashmir. Since then I lost 600 colleagues. The Indian authorities presistently tried to make me to go for my gun but I maintained my patience and now a large number of Indians are behind me and for the cause of Kashmir," he said. "During this period I have been arrested over 200 times and survived six attempts on my life and yet I have ben able to defeat the Indian state morally and diplomatically," said Malik.


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