PDP sabotaging peace process: Hurriyat
27 March 2007
The Daily Excelsior
By Sanjeev Pargal
Jammu: Hurriyat Conference (moderate) today charged People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with trying to sabotage peace process in the State by raising the single issue of de-militarization for its vested interests. 'While peace process between India and Pakistan is moving forward which augurs well for people of the State, who have witnessed violence for the last 17 years, the PDP has played spoilsport by raising one way demand of de-militarisation in J&K', Hurriyat Conference leader Billal Lone, who had accompanied Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq in his meetings with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf last year, told the Excelsior during his brief stay here. 'De-militarisation has to be there but not only in this part of the State. We want de- militarisation in entire Jammu and Kashmir including the areas under control of Pakistan', he said charging the PDP leadership including former Chief Minister Mufti Mohd Sayeed and party president Mehbooba Mufti with playing in the hands of 'certain vested interests' in both J&K and New Delhi for raising the demand 'to divert focus from peace process which was moving ahead.' 'It was the Mufti, who as a Home Minister of India had brought excessive force to Kashmir, served as a Chief Minister for three years but never asked for de- militarisation or withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act. Suddenly, out of power, he has started raising the issues for which he himself was responsible', Mr Lone asserted. Observing that it was time now for India and Pakistan to hold talks, go ahead with peace process and involve people of Kashmir in the dialogue at a later date, he said the Hurriyat Conference was itself delaying its further meetings with top political leadership of the two countries as it wants both nations to first complete their talks. 'We are hopeful of a positive outcome of dialogue between two countries in next three to four months', the Hurriyat leader claimed and asserted, 'India and Pakistan, at the moment have bigger and wider plans. We don’t want to harm them as we are optimistic about a solution to Kashmir problem once and for all'. He maintained that leadership of both countries appeared to be serious in resolving the issue. To a question on whether the Hurriyat Conference will contest Assembly elections, due by the end of next year, if the issue was resolved to its satisfaction, he quipped, 'power politics was not important for the Hurriyat. As on day, our concentration is focused on mitigating sufferings of the people and election is not on our agenda'. He added that the Hurriyat Conference will take an 'appropriate decision' at an 'opportune time' on contesting elections. Calling for making borders between two parts of Kashmir irrelevant, Mr Lone said all roads linking divided Kashmir should be thrown open and more LoC points added for movement of civilians without any permit. People should be allowed to travel between two parts of divided State on the basis on an identity card to ensure hassle free movement, he asserted. He also stressed for extension of cease-fire between India and Pakistan on the borders and Line of Control (LoC) to other parts of the State to bring the level of violence down. He hoped for speedy recovery of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, head of moderate Hurriyat Conference’s rival faction, who is undergoing treatment at Tata hospital in Mumbai. On differences with his brother Sajjad Lone, who heads a faction of People’s Conference, he asserted that their family terms have improved. 'When Sajjad was out of the State, I took care of his ailing son', he revealed.