Pak., terrorist outfits hail APHC decision
26 April 2001
B. Muralidhar Reddy
Islamabad: Pakistan and Pakistan-based militant organisations have welcomed the All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) decision to reject the offer of talks made by the Indian Government. The chief spokesman of the military government and press secretary to the chief executive, Maj. Gen. Rashid Quereshi, described the decision as a 'step in the right direction' and said that the earlier India recognised 'ground realities' in Kashmir, the better it would be for the resolution of the conflict. 'It has been the contention of Pakistan that there are three parties to the dispute and it is not possible to resolve it unless all of them involved,' he said. Maj. Gen. Quereshi said that if India was 'really sincere' in addressing the Kashmir issue, it should take steps to pave way for all the three parties to sit down and talk. 'The APHC has done the right thing'. He said that 'half hearted and insincere' attempts would not lead anywhere and alleged the ceasefire declared by India was being observed more in breach than in practice. He claimed that while the guns on the Line of Control have fallen silent on account of the policy of 'maximum restraint' being adopted by the Musharraf Government, the situation inside Kashmir remained the same. 'Kashmiri people continue to be the target of Indian forces despite the ceasefire'. The Hizb-ul Mujahideen spokesman, Mr. Salim Hashmi, expressed happiness over the decision of the APHC and said it vindicated the stand taken by his organisation ever since it withdrew the unilateral ceasefire it announced in July last year. 'This was precisely the reason that compelled us to review our ceasefire. We are not opposed to dialogue but we believe that if it is to be meaningful it must involve all the three parties'. Mr. Hashmi said that the Indian Government should allow the Hurriyat delegation to visit Pakistan to enable it interact with all the concerned to pave way for a tripartite dialogue. The Lashkar-e-Taiba spokesman, Yahya Mujaheed, also echoed the same sentiments. He said that India should be not only prepared for an unconditional tripartite dialogue but should withdraw its forces from Kashmir to create the right atmosphere for resolution of the dispute.