No More Ceasefire, But Hizbul Game For Polls
12 September 2000
The Times of India
Srinagar: The Pakistan-based chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, Syed Salahuddin, has ruled out announcement of another ceasefire, but said his outfit was willing to hold dialogue with New Delhi outside the Indian Constitution and was even ready to participate in elections. He, however, warned that the outfit could extend its activities outside Jammu and Kashmir if India did not agree for holding negotiations outside the framework of Indian Constitution. The Hizb is ''ready for both - hold talks which are held outside the Indian Constitution and extend activities to other parts of India,'' Salahuddin said in a telephonic interview with a local news agency here. ''We are even ready to contest elections,'' he added. Ruling out the possibility of the outfit declaring another ceasefire, the Hizb chief said ''it should now come from India. Let them take the initiative and see our response.'' He said he was in constant touch with the outfit''s chief commander in Jammu and Kashmir Abdul Majid Dar who ''is following the directions given to him by me.'' Salahuddin said the outfit has decided to launch a political and diplomatic movement alongside the militancy to settle the Kashmir problem. The outfit is in touch with various countries in this regard, he said. Referring to Hurriyat Conference, he said it had ''failed to deliver goods'' and added ''despite all the weaknesses in Hurriyat it is acceptable to Hizb and I hold it in high esteem.''