Hizbul For Another Ceasefire In Two Months
22 August 2000
Srinagar: In a surprising development, the Hizb-ul- Mujahideen has announced the revival of the ceasefire called off by its supreme commander, Syed Salahuddin, on August 8 in Islamabad. It will also set up a coordination committee with the All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) to remove misconceptions on the issue. This was revealed by Mr. Abdul Majeed Dar, chief Hizb commander (operations) in an interview to a local news agency, CNS, here on Tuesday. ''In order to end the stalemate between the Mujahideen and the Government of India (GoI) efforts are on at the international level and in next two months the ceasaefire will again be implemented,'' Mr. Dar said adding that it would be followed by fresh talks between the Hizb and the GoI. However, he rejected the statement of the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, that the dialogue was on at the moment. The people had heaved a sigh of relief after the announcement of ceasefire but ''the process was scuttled by some vested interests.'' However, ''we realise the wishes of the people and it is because of that we want to have the dialogue.'' Mr. Dar said that a solution to the Kashmir problem depended on tripartite talks as the Shimla, Tashkent and the Indira-Abdullah accords had proved futile. ''Whatever solution comes up will be acceptable to Hizb irrespective of whether it is against Pakistan or India.'' Mr. Dar emphasised that even if the bloodshed continued for ten more years, ultimately the parties had to come to the negotiating table. Mr. Dar appealed to the pro-India and pro-freedom parties to extend their support in this behalf. However, he said the role of the APHC was important. But their silence over the ceasefire issue would not do. It means that there was no policy with the Hurriyat. The Hizb chief disclosed that a coordination committee between the Hurriyat and the Hizb could be set up. ''We are ready to talk to the Hurriyat.'' Mr. Dar denied that there were any differences in the Hizb and blamed the Government and ''the Indian media for propagating it.'' All the Hizb decisions here and across the border were being taken with mutual consultation and ''we are in touch with (Hizb supremo) Syed Salahuddin on a daily basis.'' Denying that any secret talks were on, he said whenever there was any such move it would be made known to the public and the press. Mr. Dar urged the GoI and the Farooq Government to adopt a ''realistic approach'' to put an end to the atmosphere of mistrust. When contacted, the APHC chairman, Prof. Abdul Gani Butt, in Delhi said, ''this not a big issue for any of us.'' Expressing pessimism over the success of ceasefire announced by Mr. Dar, he said,''I will be happy if the dispute is resolved.'' Disagreeing with the view that it would lead towards peace, Prof. Butt said, ''I think peace has to be preceded by a resolution of the Kashmir dispute.'' On the coordination committee between the Hizb and the Hurriyat, he said this would be taken up in the executive. Mr. Dar''s announcement is seen as significant as the first call of ceasefire made by him in July was called off on August 8. The Hizb commanders had also started a dialogue with the GoI after the Army reciprocated the gesture by announcing a ceasefire. Though two committees were formed on both sides to work on the modalities, they could not meet as Syed Salahuddin withdrew the ceasefire ostensibly under pressure from Pakistan on August 8.