Shabir Shah willing to participate in J&K polls
8 July 2002
Srinagar: Advocating a peaceful solution to the Kashmir issue through dialogue, the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party (JKDFP) president, Shabir Ahmad Shah, today said he was ready to participate in the coming Assembly elections, but not in any government formation. ''In principle, we stand for the democratic process and democracy, but in the case of the Kashmir conflict, this democratic process cannot be taken as a means to form the Government. It can be taken up only as a means to put forth effectively the need for a purposeful dialogue to resolve the conflict,'' Mr. Shah said in a statement here. He said he was not afraid of facing any challenge even if participation in elections was put as a pre-condition to prove their representative character. However, even taking such ''an odd step, obviously for the sake of our movement, would require all seriousness and sincerity on our part,'' he said. He also appealed to all pro-freedom forces, parties and personalities to unite at this critical juncture of ''our movement'' so that this challenge is effectively faced. Hailing the role of militants in bringing the Kashmir issue to international focus, Mr. Shah said that after September 11, the political environment of the whole world had changed and now each country was advocating the adoption of peaceful ways and means to achieve political objectives. ''In the changed world scenario there is no room for war and violence,'' he said and felt a need to bring about a change in the struggle (in Kashmir) so that it is rendered capable of making ''our struggle effective and purposeful''. — PTI.