Qayyum blames bureaucracy for committee’s failure
2 January 2003
The Daily Times
ISLAMABAD: Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan, the outgoing chairman of the Kashmir Committee, told newsmen after chairing the last meeting of the committee on Thursday that the country’s ‘traditional’ bureaucratic system did not let the committee work effectively.He said the committee was 'an unconventional entity but the bureaucracy failed it'. He said the committee prepared two reports which would help the new runners of the committee. Mr Qayyum said the next committee must get legal cover and its members should be strong and popular politicians who would work for Kashmir. He hoped that the present bureaucratic system would not create any problems for the new committee. The committee’s retiring chief said the committee was made to create friendly atmosphere between India and Pakistan, which would help them resolve the Kashmir row. He said the committees of both the sides wanted to meet to hold dialogue but the stubborn attitude of the Indian government did not allow them. Mr Qayyum advised India and Pakistan to hold talks at the prime ministerial level.When asked to comment on a statement by Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Indian prime minister, that Pakistan should forget Kashmir, Mr Qayyum said, 'There is no other issue except Kashmir'. He said President Pervez Musharraf wanted to make him the president of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). He held the notification and showed it to pressmen and said, 'I have no lust for portfolios. When I took charge of the committee, the situation could be described worst and we did all that we could.' However, he said didn’t know that the government planned to appoint him as an honorary ambassador. He said, 'You can’t serve a cause while doing a job.' He said the Kashmir policy of the military government remained the same from the Agra summit to the United Nations Organisation session, but the previous establishments changed their policies time and again. The Kashmiri leader said there should be no proposal to declare the Line of Control (LOC) ‘a permanent border’, but ‘Pakistan should consider the proposals coming from the other side’. He said he opposed the proposal to call the Seize Fire Line ‘the LOC’ by former premier Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, and when the latter asked the leaders of AJK to support him, being the president of AJK he (Mr Qayyum) issued an order to oppose the demand. However, when reminded that his predecessor Ghulam Abbass opposed military rule and favoured Fatima Jinnah instead of General Ayub Khan and he was doing the opposite by supporting a military head (Musharraf), he said, 'The world is progressing and we should not look back.'