May 2003 News

Geelani Fears Change In Pak Stand On J&K

3 May 2003
The Asian Age

Srinagar: Hurriyat Conference leader and Jamaat-e-Islami ideologue, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, is quite happy with the latest peace-making effort between India and Pakistan. However, he also fears that Islamabad might back down from its known stand on Kashmir and instead seek improvement in relations with India by opening new vistas on the trade front. 'The Pakistan foreign minister has openly and emphatically stated that the Kashmir problem can be put on the backburner and in the meantime the two countries may try to improve their trade relations,' he said in a signed statement here. 'If this kind of flexibility has been brought into the approach (by Pakistan) under visible or invisible pressure from some power, the possibility of its accepting the Line of Control as permanent border cannot be ruled out,' he wrote. Fearing Islamabad might eventually declare the security and integrity of Pakistan was supreme to it, he said the slogan of teri jaan meri jaan, sub se pehle Pakistan (Pakistan which is your life and my life comes before everything else) might get priority. He added that the fate faced by Afghanistan and Iraq and the situation being created for Syria, Iran and other Gulf nations provided a good reason for Pakistan to adopt this kind of approach. 'Today when joy has seemingly overwhelmed certain quarters to the extent that they are celebrating it (thaw in the relations between India and Pakistan) by dancing and singing in the open, the oppressed Kashmiris watch the development anxiously and are apprehensive about the results,' he said. He reiterated that Kashmir was the core issue in Indo-Pakistan relations and a key to peace in the South Asian region. 'If the two sides failed to seize the opportunity provided by the latest ice-breaking gestures to resolve it amicably the hopes of 13 million people of Jammu and Kashmir would be belied,' he said. He said that the people of the state would hardly benefit from restoration of air and rail links between India and Pakistan unless the two sides ensured an end to extra- judicial murders, destruction of villages and other populated areas, random arrests, torture and prolonged detentions, rape and molestation of women and other gross human rights violations. He said there would be change in Jammu and Kashmir only when 'draconian' laws like the Disturbed Area Act were withdrawn and the people's right to self-determination was recognised and they were allowed to express their sentiments freely. Mr Geelani also wanted to impress upon Pakistani leaders that they should not deviate from their past policy and continue to support the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their struggle. 'We are grateful to them and hope that political, moral and diplomatic support to our just struggle for the right to self-determination would continue,' he said.

 

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