24th February 1997
JAMMU: The All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC), in a significant shift in its stand, today asked Pakistan to vacate all the parts of Jammu and Kashmir occupied by it and called for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir problem through negotiation.
Addressing his first ever press conference here, the APHC chairman, Mirwaiz Omer Farooq, said that the Kashmir issue needs to be resolved amicably between India and Pakistan in accordance with the wishes of the people of the state.
Mirwaiz Omer Farooq, along with other senior APHC leaders, Abdul Gani Lone, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yasin Malik, had come here to constitute a Hurriyat unit for the Jammu region as a part of party's move to outline the activities in the state. A 23-member provincial body of the APHC, headed by Karan Singh, was announced on the occasion.
Pointing out that the APHC considered Jammu and Kashmir state geographical boundaries as existed on August 15, 1947, Omer Farooq said that self-determination of the future of the state was the right of all the people of the state.
Another Hurriyat leader Yasin Malik asked both India and Pakistan to withdraw their forces from Jammu and Kashmir so that the people on both sides can sit together to decide their future. In this connection, he referred to the United Nation Security Council resolution asking Pakistan to vacate all the territories of Kashmir occupied by it before ascertaining the wishes of the people of the state.
Meanwhile, in Bombay, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, said that the issue of granting autonomy to the state would be resolved through consensus among all political parties. He said the Dr Karan Singh commission set up to study the matter would be submitting its recommendations to the state government by May end.