J&K Parties Warm Up For Clinton Visit
6 March 2000
Times of India
New Delhi: It is not only secessionist forces which have intensified their activities in Jammu and Kashmir in the run-up to US president Bill Clinton''s visit to the sub-continent later this month but also certain political parties which have planned action in the coming days. Chief minister Farooq Abdullah''s estranged brother-in-law G.M. Shah came out of a decade- long political hibernation to address a press conference in Srinagar and his son Muzaffar Shah in Delhi on Monday. ''A number of public meetings and rallies in Kashmir Valley will follow,'' Muzaffar, who is helping his father revive the Awami National Conference (ANC), said. People''s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has planned a rally here later this month ''to attract the world''s attention to the plight of Kashmiri people''. The situation in the Valley has deteriorated considerably over the past few months. The alienation of the National Conference government of Farooq Abdullah is increasing as are the activities of subversive organisations. Kashmir watchers feel organisations like the ANC and the PDP want to take advantage of the situation when the world''s attention would be on Kashmir during the US president''s visit to the country. The ANC has released a document titled ''Call for peace and solution'' which advocates immediate holding of talks among India, Pakistan and Kashmiri representatives. ''The experience of the past 50 years has shown that the Kashmir issue cannot be solved without the involvement of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Only an interaction between the leadership of India, Pakistan and the true representatives of Jammu and Kashmir, taking into account the wishes of the people of all regions of J&K and on both sides of the Line of Control can bring about a peaceful solution,'' it says. It further says that ''the people of Kashmir, India and Pakistan should rise in one voice and ask their respective governments to find a just and real solution to the vexed problem. The youth of Kashmir should now endeavour to find such a solution which can only be achieved through the medium of an unconditional dialogue. Kashmiri Pandits, who are also sons of the motherland, must be brought back. It is the sacred duty of the youth to get the Pandit brothers back.''