April 1999 News

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Shabir Shah denies he is after power, assails ‘changing’ Pak rulers’ mood

4th April 1999
Kashmir Times

SRINAGAR: Regretting the attitude of Pakistan authorities towards his person Shabir Ahmad Shah, the founder President of Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) has said their (Pakistan rulers) mood is changing like Shimla weather. Had the Pakistan rulers not committed mistakes in the past, situation of the Kashmir issue would have been different, he told the Chattan, the mass circulated weekly tabloid in a detailed interview adding "they have not taken lessons from history".

India and Pakistan are main parties to the dispute but if they take the people of Kashmir for a ride and expect us to say, to see and to listen things of their choices only, it is impossible, he said in plain terms. Thanking the people of Pakistan for their love for the Kashmiris, Shah has regretted the ever changing mood of Pakistan rulers. "If I give you some instances it would result in the rise of blood pressures of so many", 45-year old separatist leader told the weekly. He, however, quoted the case of Maqbool Bhat, who, he said, was dubbed an Indian agent and even jailed there. Shah regretted Pakistan’s official media policy that has blacked him out and nothing is being carried about his activities in Kashmir. "I have never cared about the publicity when I consciously joined the ongoing freedom struggle at the age of 14 and now if they (Pakistan) have though it to impose a boycott I don’t mind", he said said.

Commenting on various aspects of the decade old strife, the separatist leader has lamented against the methods of protest. Terming the frequent strikes as another tool of economic destruction and suicidal, Shah has said "this method of protest has value in democratic societies only". Instead he has suggested a limited number of 3-4 strikes a year which have national significance like that of February 11. "What is the fun of organising a strike when people spend the day playing cards on roof-tops or children playing cricket the whole day without knowing why the strike was organised ?", he has asked.

Economy has a direct relation with the tehreek (movement) and politics. "If you destroy the educational edifice, and the economic structure, people can not make any contribution (towards the ongoing struggle) even if they support you ... that will be anti-movement activities and a method to lead people to psychological slavery", he has commented. Refuting the reports that he is after power, Shah has said that certain quarters run their operations simply by churning out rumours about him. "If power had been my objective I would have done it easily in 1994", he said. Earlier, he said, this job was being done by the intelligence agencies and police but now the politicians have taken over.

A man of 45 who has joined the freedom struggle at the age of 14, has been behind bars for 20 years and has spent six years underground can not betray his people, he said. But I am not scared and I will not stop talking to the people of all hues, he said. "Only those people are afraid of negotiations whose case is weak but I am not, we have a very strong case", Shah added. Though he has admitted of his frequent visits to Delhi, Shah has refuted that he received any formal negotiation offer from the Government of India. Besides, he has said the change of government in the state is not the solution to any problem.

Ruling out the possibility of his "escape" from the separatist politics, Shabir Shah has said he is going to stay. Asked about his Trust, he clarified that it will be constituted though the members nominated for it backed out. Since the Trust was not coming into existence, we decided to help the destitutes and that is why a sum of fifty lakh rupees were distributed among the deserving people irrespective of their religion and creed.

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