April 2006 News

Kashmir solution difficult without Musharraf, says Mirwaiz

4 April 2006
The Daily Times
Shahzad Raza

Islamabad: A solution to the Kashmir dispute will be difficult to find in the absence of President General Pervez Musharraf, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman, said on Tuesday. Addressing a press conference with Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, he urged Indian leaders to take advantage of President Musharraf’s willingness to resolve the dispute. “Bold decisions are required on Kashmir. Political parties may face political pressure while making bold decisions on Kashmir,” he said. He added that previous Pakistani governments maintained a positive approach on Kashmir. Farooq said that Musharraf had given Kashmiri leaders and India an opportunity and they must take it. He said that Kashmiri militant groups must be included in the dialogue process so that they shun their militant practices. He praised a recent statement from Syed Salahuddin, the chairman of the United Jihad Council, that militant outfits would shun their violence if included in the dialogue process. Farooq claimed that Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir was widely accepted in India and Kashmir. He added that Indian civil society now believed that the dispute must be resolved once and for all by showing flexibility. He said international pressure was mounting on India to resolve the dispute. He hoped the dialogue process would continue and bear fruit because “Indian leaders have realised they cannot resolve the dispute by the use of force”. The APHC chairman commended Pakistan’s proposal of demilitarisation of Kashmir on both sides of the Line of Control. He said India was reducing its forces in Kashmir under international pressure. He endorsed Musharraf’s proposal of dividing Kashmir into five regions. He favoured converting Kashmir into the United States of Kashmir. Farooq said the APHC was not optimistic about US President George Bush’s visit to the region. He urged the US to help make the dialogue process result-oriented. He said Indian governments had tried a so-called electoral process in Kashmir and provided the puppet government with financial incentives, but it failed to suppress the voice of Kashmiris. Information Minister Sheikh Rashid said that Kashmiris, Pakistan and India must agree to a unanimous solution to the dispute. “Even if one stakeholder is not agreed to the solution, it will have no value.”


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