'Pak Indifference Behind Freedom Cry In PoK'
5 July 2003
The Times of India
Muzaffarabad: The All Parties Nationalist Alliance (APNA), a conglomerate of nationalistic parties in PoK, has said that because Pakistan had never worked for the cause of people living in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK), the people here had unanimously opted for complete independence. APNA chairman Asif Shahidi in a telephonic interview with ANI said both India and Pakistan wanted to resolve the Kashmir issue according to their own national interests 'so the people here want complete independence... not to be ruled by either of the two.' 'No human being wants to be ruled by others. In the similar way, people in PoK also do not want to be ruled by Pakistanů but they have forcibly imposed their rule... we want to get rid of it,' he said. Stating that during the past 55 years no Pakistan government worked for the cause of Kashmiris living here, he said, 'Pakistan governments have on several occasions in the past used us to suit their own interests.' Shahidi said his organisation had launched a month-long drive to contact the masses and elicit their opinion whether they want complete independence or a merger with India or Pakistan. 'We distributed forms giving them the option to tick one of the three alternatives. Ninety-nine percent of them opted for complete independence,' he added. Asif said the Kashmir dispute had been standing for more than five decades and no concrete solution had come across. 'So we decided to give a common man to decide his future.' He said none other than the people in PoK had the right to decide their fate. Further elaborating he said, 'We started the drive from Hazira village in Rawalakot district and would soon go to other places like Mirpur, Muzzarafad, and Kotli. On July 11 we are launching an extensive public contact programe wherein we will distribute similar forms to the people in a bid to know their response.'