Kashmiri group in UK launches new party

15 May 2008
The Dawn

London: Claiming to be founder members of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), a splinter group of UK-based front, launched a new party here on Thursday, accusing the JKLF leadership of having compromised the front’s ideology by making “private deals with secret agencies of India and Pakistan”. Dr Shabir Choudhry, the coordinator of the new party—Kashmir National Party—told media persons that as a result of these “secret deals with secret agencies our national struggle was communalised, our struggle was hijacked and presented as a ‘Jihad’ which not only deprived us of international support, but also provided a propaganda stick in the hands of India government to link it with Islamic fundamentalists.” He said this ‘Islamisation’ and ‘Talibanaisation’ of the struggle had changed the fundamental character of JKLF struggle. “To the outside world it appeared as a ‘proxy war’, planned and controlled by Pakistani agencies in which Muslim sentiments were used to protect and advance what was perceived as ‘national interest’ of Pakistan, but these policies have proved a disaster for Pakistan because those Jihadi outfits are now fighting ‘Jihad’ against Pakistan,” he added. According to the KNP, people of Jammu and Kashmir had suffered immensely because of the policies of both India and Pakistan and “we have strong grievances against them; but we also hold the Kashmiri leadership, especially some so-called nationalist leaders responsible for our miseries, as they have not been able to rise to the occasion and lead people to our cherished goal of independence.” The KNP claimed that Kashmiris were different from both India and Pakistan and “we must maintain our separate political existence by promoting Kashmiri people’s unfettered right of self- determination, which is different fromto the right of accession sold to us as right of self-determination”. “We don’t accept the contention that the state belongs to India, because of the ‘provisional accession’ which had to be ratified by the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “We also reject the notion that the state should have become part of Pakistan because of religion. KNP wants to make it clear to all that the Kashmir dispute is not a religious issue; and nor is it a territorial dispute which should be settled by mutual agreement of India and Pakistan. “We reject Indus Water Treaty of 1960 in which Kashmir’s natural resources were divided by its powerful neighbours. Natural resources of the state belong to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and must be utilised for the betterment of the people. India and Pakistan cannot use these resources at the cost of our people. Be it Mangla Dam, Bahsha Dam or Baghliar Dam, people of Jammu and Kashmir are uprooted as a result of construction or upraising these dams. “We demand that until such time that the final status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is determined a democratic and representative government in Gilgit and Baltistan with full powers to serve all social, economic and political needs of the local people should be set up without any delay.” Those present at the press conference included Nazam Bhatti, Abbas Butt, Sarwar Hussain, Asim Mirza, Ehsan Ul Haq Ansari, Aslam Mirza, Masoom Ansari and Nawaz Majid.