Pakistan, India Should Expedite Peace Process, Says Yasin Malik

15 March 2008
The Daily Times

Lahore: Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman Yasin Malik has urged Pakistan and India to expedite the ongoing dialogue process on the Kashmir issue, as he sees no “substantial improvement” in resolving the issue. Pakistan and India agreed to open talks on the disputed region of Kashmir in 2004. In an interview with India Today, Yasin Malik said that the people of Kashmir had a right to be part of the peace process. “The last hope for the people of the state is the dialogue process. If Kashmiri people lose hope in the dialogue process, then it will be a disaster. Both India and Pakistan should increase the pace of the peace process.” Asked if he agreed that most militant organisations in Kashmir were motivated by religion rather than geo-politics, Yasin Malik said, “I agree that in every society there are different schools of thought. Kashmir is no exception and all schools of thought are present here as well.” However, he believed that violence had decreased by 90 percent since the peace process was started in the valley. “I think the dialogue process was supported by all corners,” he added. Elections: State Assembly elections are due in Kashmir in October. Yasin Malik said the JKLF had not yet put any thought on State Assembly elections in Kashmir scheduled for October. “… We are now waiting to see what the outcome of the peace process will be. We have not put any thought on the elections till now. We want to know what happens in the peace process,” he said when asked if was going to participate in the polls. He said the Indian government should take constructive and genuine steps to bring Kashmiri Pandits back in the valley. Hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits had to flee the Kashmir valley after being targeted by Kashmiri and foreign militants in 1990. The JKLF started the movement for a separate homeland. Later on, it denounced violence and turned its attention on a non-violent movement. When asked how did he assess this transformation, Yasin Malik said, “Our movement started from non-violence and then we turned to violence. And, again back to non-violence. It has gone through this transformation. There has been provocation to send me back underground, but I was patient and defeated the state politically and morally.”