November 2006 News

Pakistani Infiltration Into Kashmir Has Doubled: Azad

4 November 2006
The Daily Excelsior

New Delhi: Pakistani infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir has doubled this year, according to the state Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad who has, consequently, ruled out reduction of troops. An estimated 500 Pakistani infiltrators have crossed into the state in the first 10 months of this year, he told PTI here, recalling that in the corresponding period last year the figure was less than 200. Firmly rejecting a Pakistani suggestion for reduction of troops in the state, the Chief Minister made it clear that innocent people could not be left at the mercy of terrorists. Azad, who has just completed one year in office, dismissed President Pervez Musharraf's proposal for self-rule for both parts of the state, saying that the Pakistani ruler was himself not sure of what he was talking about. 'I dont think he (Musharraf) himself is very sure about it...We really have self-rule. We have our own Constitution, flag and elected representatives. What else is self rule.' Azad wondered that the suggestion was coming 'from a General, a dictator, telling to another state that you (have) the democracy. We have democracy and there is no democracy (across the border).' On the self-rule issue being advocated by his alliance partner PDP, whose patron Mufti Mohammed Sayeed was away in New York attending the United Nations General Assembly, Azad said there were proper fora formed after the Second Roundtable Conference chaired by Prime Minister for raising these matters. 'We do not find any reason why they should be going around and making such demands. I do not think this will lead us to any solution. If somebody is really interested, he or she can come to the table rather than going around,' Azad said. Azad made it clear that there would be no dialogue with those holding weapons. 'Violence and dialogue cannot go together,' he said. The Chief Minister said the Centre as well as the State Government had taken serious initiatives for finding a lasting peace in the State. 'While the process is going on, I do not approve this killing of innocent people by the militants. If anyone has a problem, they should talk across the table rather than killing innocents.' 'If they (militants or separatists) think the Centre or Jammu and Kashmir Government is weak and that they will do what the militants want them to do, they are living in a fool's paradise. We are interested in dialogue but we are not scared of anybody,' Azad said. 'So is there any solution for Kashmir?' Azad was asked. 'There was an issue and it was solved in 1975 (Indira-Sheikh Accord). I dont know how many times you will have an issue and find a solution. After every 10 years someone will get up and say that I have a problem and now let us find a solution. 'You cannot go on negotiating with everyone everytime. There was a problem and that has been negotiated,' he said. 'Still, after the two roundtable meetings, five working groups have been formed. Still if someone is interested, he or she can come to discuss there,' he said. Azad said no one in Jammu and Kashmir could claim to be the sole representative of people of the State. 'Therefore, Hurriyat Conference has also some relevance under this arrangement.' About the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits back in the valley, the Chief Minister said, 'Well, it is unfortunate that we are not finding anyone to occupy the flats built in Kashmir for this community. 'When I talk to them (Kashmiri Pandits) individually, they agree but collectively they disagree,' he said, adding that flats had been built in the safest areas and the Pandits could go back to their original homes once the situation improved. Asked about the demand for trifurcation of the state as demanded by the BJP, he said, 'This will be the biggest blunder. Unity is the beauty of Kashmir.'


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