April 2007 News

Musharraf’s plan to divide Kashmir: Sultan

14 April 2007
The Dawn

Lahore: AJK’s former prime minister Barrister Sultan Mehmood strongly opposed on Saturday the four-point formula given recently by President Pervez Musharraf for resolving the Kashmir dispute, saying it not only amounted to a departure from Pakistan’s principled stand on the issue but, if accepted, would also lead to the division of what Kashmiri people believe to be an indivisible state. At a news conference here, Barrister Sultan, now the president of the People’s Muslim League, analysed the formula in detail, and said the softening of the Line of Control, demilitarisation, self-governance or joint management of the disputed territory would mean Pakistan and India should continue to control the areas already with them, a solution he termed unacceptable to the Kashmiris on either side. He also disagreed with the All Parties Hurriat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s idea of abandoning armed struggle to find a political solution to the dispute. The former AJK prime minister was of the view that it was the armed struggle which had brought India to table discuss with Pakistan the possible solution to the problem. He said it was because of the situation created by the resistance movement that India had expressed willingness to give more autonomy to the occupied Kashmir - although within the framework of the Indian constitution. He said that now that the Indian army chief had 'certified’ that infiltration from Pakistan had come to an end, there was little possibility of New Delhi agreeing to a solution acceptable to the Kashmiri people. He said India was not responding to any of the proposals offered by Pakistan to give the Kashmiri people their right. Barrister Sultan Mehmood said the UN resolutions offered the best solution to the problem, and Pakistan should stick to them. From Sunday (today), the People’s Muslim League is launching a month-long campaign for the right to self-determination for the people of Kashmir. In this connection, a meeting would be held in Lahore and gatherings would also be organised in all important cities of the AJK. The former prime minister will also be visiting capitals of important European countries to address conferences in an attempt to internationalise the Kashmir issue. He urged all democratic forces to have the same point of view on the Kashmir issue. Answering a question, Barrister Sultan said Jihad and terrorism were two different things, and nobody would ever support terrorist acts. To another question, he alleged that the AJK Muslim Conference government was devouring state funds in the name of freedom movement. According to him, Rs150 million had been spent on a Kashmir conference and another Rs120 million on Kashmir festival. “What conquests have the rulers made to justify such celebrations?” he asked. He alleged that the Muslim Conference leaders had been misusing the state funds in the past as well. He recalled that as prime minister he had ordered arrest of Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan and his son, incumbent AJK premier, for misappropriating Rs560 million. To escape arrest, he said, Sardar Qayyum approached various authorities and claimed that he had used the amount for freedom movement. Dewan Ghulam Mohayyuddin, Ghulam Husain Chaudhry and some others were also present at the news conference.


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