LT to support democratic struggle to liberate Indian-held Kashmir

18 January 2009
The Daily Times

Islamabad: The outlawed Laskhar-e-Tayyaba (LT) announced on Sunday it would support a peaceful and democratic struggle to liberate Kashmir. In a statement issued in Srinagar, LT spokesman Dr Abdullah Gaznavi said his group took up arms when the world did not respond to the Kashmiris’ peaceful struggle for more than four decades. “If the world listens to our cries and plays its role in resolving the Kashmir issue, there is no point in continuing fighting,” he said. The group also endorsed British Foreign Secretary David Milliband’s comment that the LT’s cause was in Kashmir. “Our struggle is only confined to Kashmir and we have no relations or association with armed groups operating at the international level. We have no global agenda. We just want the freedom of Kashmir and if it comes though peaceful means, we will welcome it,” said the top commander. He said the banned organisation did not believe that an armed struggle was the only way to achieve political objectives. “We had only responded to the cries of our Kashmiri brethren and had no choice but to call the world’s attention to their suffering through arms,” he said. “If the world listens to our appeals and the Kashmir issue is resolved, there will be no reason for us to fight.” Dr Gaznavi said Miliband’s comments were ‘a ray of hope’, but added that they were not enough. He called for an active British role in the resolution of the Kashmir issue because “it has to take the major blame for the crisis”. “Britain did not implement the agreed agenda of the partition in 1947. Due to a mistake they have committed, our nation is suffering. Lashkar-e-Tayyaba was compelled to take up weapons,” he said. The spokesman also denied the Lashkar’s involvement in the November 26 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. He said the world had “jumped to conclusions under Indian pressure” before the investigations were complete. He also said it was ‘unfortunate’ that Milliband had blamed the LT for the attacks. “We don’t have a global agenda. We have done nothing [in the UK], and we don’t have any such plans. The British government should be careful in accusing someone,” he said.