Salahuddin Slams Musharraf Over Concessions To India On Kashmir

22 April 2008

Muzaffarabad: Leaders of militant groups based in Pakistan have criticised President Pervez Musharraf’ for offering “too many concessions to India”. United Jihad Council (UJC) chairman Syed Salahuddin claimed that Kashmir had “never been the core issue” in Pakistan-India talks over the past few years. Salahuddin reiterated that Kashmiri fighters were “ready to lay down their arms if India acknowledged that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory and agrees to settle the dispute through meaningful tripartite talks”. According to him, Kashmiris would not accept any formula short of ‘complete liberation’. “Division, status-quo, internal autonomy or cross-border trade are unacceptable,” he said, adding that militants were not opposed to trans-LoC travel, but they would not allow anyone to use it to weaken what he called “the freedom movement”. He stressed the need for “Kashmir-centric and target-oriented” talks with India and criticised Pakistani politicians for suggesting that settlement of the dispute should be left for the next generations. “This movement cannot be postponed even for a single day. People … must not forget that we had waged a peaceful political struggle for liberation for 42 years. But after its utter failure, we were compelled to take up arms,” a local daily quoted him as saying while addressing the ‘Azm-i-Jihad conference’ here on Monday. Besides the Council leaders, some other politicians also criticised the Azad Jammu and Kashmir government for “welcoming killers of the Kashmiri people”, added the paper.