Kashmiris want role in future talks: Rallies, protests held in Valley
5 January 2003
Our Staff Correspondent
MUZAFFARABAD: People across the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Sunday observed the 'Right to self-determination Day' by holding rallies and public meetings. This day is observed by the people of Kashmir all over the world to remind the United Nations to implement its long-pending resolutions on the Kashmir issue for a lasting peace in South Asia. On Jan 5, 1949, the UN Security Council had passed a resolution, which pledged a free, fair and impartial referendum to the Kashmiris to ascertain their will regarding the future status of their motherland. In Muzaffarabad, a large public meeting was held at the Old Civil Secretariat under the aegis of the Kashmir Liberation Cell, followed by a rally marching towards the office of the United Nations Military Observers. A memorandum was delivered to the UN observers there. The public meeting was largely attended by civil servants, Kashmiri refugees, leaders and activists of the political parties. The venue of the meeting was decorated with a number of banners, condemning human rights violations and atrocities in the Indian occupied Kashmir and supporting the Kashmiris' right to self- determination. A resolution - calling upon the UN and major world powers to play their roles in granting the right to self- determination to the Kashmiris in accordance with their pledges, instead of falling prey to the baseless Indian propaganda against the Kashmiris - was unanimously endorsed by the participants of the public meeting. Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister of the AJK, Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan regretted that the powers, which had supported the right to self-determination for the Kashmiris 54 years ago, had now changed their stance. 'If the United Nations fails to implement its resolutions on Kashmir, its fate will not be different from that of the (defunct) League of Nations,' he warned. The AJK premier pointed out that when the UN had passed resolutions on the Kashmir issue, its member states were around 100, but since then, their number had nearly doubled. He reminded the new UN members that they owed their very existence to the right to self-determination, adding that some of them had gotten this right peacefully while some had to wage an armed struggle to achieve the same. He reminded India that freedom of any nation, particularly the one determined to achieve it, could not be withheld through application of coercive and repressive measures. 'India has so far martyred 80,000 Kashmiris. We can offer to sacrifice 80,000 more lives, but we will never accept Indian subjugation,' he said. 'Every home in the Indian occupied Kashmir has suffered repression and everyone there abhors India,' he said. In a veiled reference to a statement by Sardar Qayyum, the AJK premier said that the Kashmiris must stick to their demand to implement the UN resolutions as they formed the basis for the Kashmiris' struggle. 'Kashmiris can never deviate from their basic stand,' he said. He did not elaborate. The leader of the AJK chapter of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), Ghulam Mohammad Safi, who presided over the public meeting, said that the armed struggle in the Indian occupied Kashmir could not be termed terrorism as it was a legitimate and popular movement. He described India as terrorist as it had invaded and occupied a large part of Kashmir and because it was committing flagrant violations of human rights in the held territory. Referring to an announcement by the Indian deputy prime minister, L. K. Advani, that New Delhi would hold talks with the elected representatives in the Indian occupied Kashmir, Mr Safi said that Advani's dialogue with Mufti Sayeed was like he was holding talks with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. 'The APHC is firm in its stand that talks with India cannot be held unless Pakistan also participated as a party,' he said, stressing on the need for publicizing the stand of the conglomerate at the international level. Mr Safi said that Kashmiris could not be entrapped with proposals like internal autonomy or the conversion of the Line of Control into permanent border. 'Neither brute force nor political fraud can deter us from our resistance against the Indian occupation.' The secretary information of the PPAJK, Khwaja Farooq Ahmed, ruling party's MLA Noreen Arif, a leader of the JK Liberation League, Chaudhry Raj Mohammad, a leader of the Jamaat-i-Islami, Shaikh Aqeelur Rehman and others also spoke on the occasion. Later, Mr Safi and senior minister of the AJK Syed Mumtaz Gillani led the participants to UN observers' office where they delivered a memorandum asking the world body to press India to desist from state terrorism in the Indian occupied Kashmir, shelling of civilian populations in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir, release all detainees, and calling for creation of a congenial atmosphere for the implementation of UN resolutions on the Kashmir issue.