Army Against Peace Talks, Says Pak Leader
28 May 2003
The Times of India
Islamabad: The Pakistan Army is against any solution to the Kashmir problem because it would end its privileges, a prominent Islamist leader has charged. 'Army is against solution of the Kashmir issue and the military elites are well aware that once this issue is resolved it will be an end to their privileges,' said Moulana Fazalur Rehman, secretary general of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), the six-party alliance of fundamentalist groups. His remarks at a seminar on 'Indo- Pakistan dialogue and future of Kashmir', reported by the Dawn newspaper, reflected a growing perception in Pakistan that the army would not allow the dialogue with India to succeed. He called for resumption of the dialogue between India and Pakistan from the point left off by President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in their Agra summit in July 2001. 'Agra Summit was not a failure but it was left in the midway', he said. He also said that the Kargil conflict had damaged the image of Pakistan internationally. 'The Lahore Declaration was an effort of political government while Kargil was a misadventure of the army', he said. 'The Kargil war was initiated by the army, which later appealed to the political government to stop the war', he added. Rehman also flayed the army for creating a situation similar to the one in 1971, when then East Pakistan broke away and became the independent Bangladesh. He said in 1971, elections were held under a Legal Framework Order, which resulted in the secession of Bangladesh, and added that the country's territorial integrity was again being threatened. Rehman said: 'The US wants to divide state of Jammu Kashmir into three parts. It wants to include Jammu and Ladakh in India and Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan while Kashmir will remain an independent state'. Former 'Azad Jammu and Kashmir' (Pakistan-administered Kashmir) prime minister Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan said the Kashmiris were not ready to accept the Line of Control (LoC) as an international boundary. 'Division of Kashmir is not a solution of the issue. It will further aggravate the situation', he said. 'The Pakistan government should tell us that they are helpless and they have adopted a retreat', Qayyum said, but added: 'We are not against dialogue but only any dialogue in which Kashmiris are not included', he said. Information and Broadcasting Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed said: 'There is no question of any sort of bargain on Kashmir issue'. Other political and religious leaders, who spoke at the seminar, said that the rulers of India and Pakistan had always used the Kashmir issue for their personal or organizational interests.