May 2007 News

Hurriyat ready to contest poll, says Mirwaiz

21 May 2007
The Dawn

New Delhi: The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) is ready to contest the elections, which are due in Jammu and Kashmir in 2008, if that would lead to a just and durable resolution of the Kashmir dispute, APHC chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said on Monday. Maulvi Farooq made the surprise disclosure at a rally he addressed in Srinagar to commemorate the death anniversary of his father, the late Mirwaiz, and former APHC chief Abdul Ghani Lone, who too was killed at a similar rally on May 21, 2002. He said “So far elections have not solved the problems of the people. They have only perpetuated the status quo for New Delhi. But if elections are held in 2008 with a view to addressing and resolving the dispute for which we have given countless martyrs, and if India is willing to give us the autonomy that existed before 1953, together with a proposal to demilitarise the region, we are ready to go to the polls.” He said a meaningful autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir could not be worked out between New Delhi and Srinagar, but should include the ideas thrown up from Muzaffarbad and Islamabad. A pre-1953 arrangement would give Jammu and Kashmir greater autonomy together with an administrative structure comprising a president, a prime minister and an independent election commission, he added. The Mirwaiz did not make it clear if these elements would be a pre-condition for the APHC to join the election fray or whether these would be part of the election manifesto, a promise he would strive to fulfil should the APHC win the elections first. He said that armed militants or freedom fighters had given their lives for the fundamental rights of Kashmiris, but the battle could not be won with guns alone. 'There has to be a political dialogue with an earnest mission to address the basic issues of Kashmiris. If we make progress, I am certain the Mujahedeen are going to support us,' he added. The Mirwaiz reiterated his call to India to discuss President Gen Pervez Musharraf’s four-point formula for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. “There is little purpose in routinely calling a roundtable conference with pro-India elements, only to avoid discussing the real problem or the road ahead,” he added.


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