US has no roadmap for J&K: JKLF
29 June 2003
The Hindustan Times
Press Trust of India
London: While the US has shown keen interest in the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and is ready to play a supportive and advisory role for peace in the Himalayan region, it does not have any road map to suggest an end to the 50-year old imbroglio.According to a four-member delegation of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, which has just concluded a visit to US at the invitation of the American government, representatives of the US State Department conveyed that the dispute has to be 'resolved through a process of dialogue.'The USA has no 'road map' for resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The dispute has to be resolved by the concerned parties. However, as a friend America is prepared to play its supportive and advisory role,' Abbas Butt, president of JKLF (UK and Europe), told reporters in London on return from the US.While tackling the dispute the views of Kashmiri people have to be ascertained and 'violence and extremism has to be opposed as it is not the way forward' the state department officials were quoted as saying by Shabir Choudhury, chairman of the diplomatic committee of JKLF.The JKLF leaders claimed that the US government officials 'concurred' with their view that the All Party Hurriyat Conference 'was not a representative' of the Kashmiri people and it 'lacked' a vision and a 'programme' to tackle the situation.Butt and Choudhury noted that ascertaining the views of the Kashmiri people was a difficult task but made 'it clear that the APHC was not a representative of the people'.'They have miserably failed to win the trust of minorities, expand into Jammu, Ladakh, (Pakistan-Occupied) Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan and even failed to in minds and hearts of the people of Valley,' they said.Butt said the Kashmir dispute must not be resolved bilaterally and the people of Kashmir should be involved in the peace process: 'People of Kashmir are the principal party to this long standing dispute, and they should have the final say on the future status of the state.'In any case, history of bilateralism between the two (India and Pakistan) proves that they have not been able to make progress, and it is also because of this that the people of Kashmir must be involved in the peace process,' Butt said.The State of Jammu and Kashmir is multi-religious and multi-ethnic political unit, and must remain as such where people have right to live and practice their beliefs without any fear of intimidation. 'Any attempt to change this character of the State could result in more problems and violence not only in Kashmir but could spill over to India and Pakistan,' Butt said adding the US government was 'appreciative' of the healing touch policy of Mufti Sayeed's government in Jammu and Kashmir.They also suggested a bus service between Muzaffarabad in PoK and Srinagar and between Mirpur (PoK) and Jammu to enhance people to people contact on both sides of the divide.