MMA for resolving kashmir issue under ambit of Simla accord
29 October 2002
The Hindustan Times
Islamabad: In an apparent policy shift, an alliance of six hardline religious parties in Pakistan has said it prefers the settlement of Kashmir and other disputes with India under the ambit of the Simla Agreement and allayed fears that militants would step up operations in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of the Islamists'' resurgence. The alliance - Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal''s (MMA) - has resolved that the Kashmir issue should be settled through bilateral approach outlined by the Simla Agreement, its nominee to the post of Prime Minister, Moulana Fazlur Rehman, said. The MMA constituents believed that policy to resolve all disputes with India through Simla Agreement should be continued until Pakistan Parliament decides otherwise, he told foreign and local media here. He also sought to play down fears that resurgence of MMA would increase the support base of Pakistan-based militant groups to step up their operations in Jammu and Kashmir. Rehman, who heads the pro-Taliban Jamat Ulema Islami (JUI) which has emerged as a dominant force in MMA by winning more seats than its alliance partners in October 10 polls, said the internationalisation of Kashmir issue could help in bringing awareness but in the end it has to be resolved between India and Pakistan. Rehman''s comments are in contradiction to the policy followed by President Pervez Musharraf that the Kashmir issue should be resolved through a third party mediation. During the past three years of his rule, Musharraf has denounced the bilateral approach in various international fora.