Mujahideen should cease operations now: Fazl
24 July 2003
The Daily Times
Amir Rana, Mubasher Bukhari
LAHORE: The Kashmiri mujahideen should halt their operations now, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) General Secretary Maulana Fazlur Rehman said at a press conference soon after his return from a nine-day visit to India.Fazl made the comment after his attention was drawn to an attack on an Indian army camp in Held Kashmir on Tuesday in which eight soldiers, including a brigadier, were killed and three generals injured. A previously unknown group called the Al-Shuhda Brigade claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was to protest Fazl's remarks that the Line of Control (LoC) should be converted into a permanent border. Fazl said the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) condemned the attack and the mujahideen should cease their operations. 'Does that mean Kashmiris should leave jihad?' a reporter asked. A reluctant Fazl replied, 'Why do you want the mujahideen not to leave their guns? Do their lives have no value? Can guns get them their right?'The ultimate end of every militant struggle is negotiations and now the Kashmiri mujahideen movements should reach that conclusion. We are striving for a peaceful solution of the issue for them.'Fazl opened the press conference with the statement that he would not clarify any comments made during his India visit 'because explanations and clarifications can obscure the visit's positive impact'. Mr Ahmad said the JUI delegation would call on Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali on July 26 to present a report of their visit.Earlier, Fazl said, 'We were on a peace mission and we felt people on both sides want peace in the region. We told India that all issues should be resolved through negotiations.' Of his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Fazl said, 'Vajpayee admitted that Pakistan was a reality and said he was making his last efforts to bring peace to the region.He said the Indian prime minister also brought up the infiltration issue. 'I told him Pakistan and India had different opinions on this issue. I said Pakistan believes Kashmiris are fighting for their right of self-determination and you call it terrorism and link it with infiltration,' Fazl said. Asked if the JUI delegation visited India following a deal between the government and the MMA, Fazl said, 'We have an understanding with the government and it cannot be called a deal.' He said he would present his visit report in parliament. Earlier, at the Wagah border, Fazl said jihad and dialogue for peace did not clash with each other and a dialogue could be held even during fighting. Asked if he condemned jihad in India, he snapped back, 'You can condemn jihad. I can't even think of doing that.'However, Fazl was not amused by the coverage he got in Pakistani press. 'Agents of some external powers indulging in journalism negatively portray my views in Pakistan.' Hafiz Hussain Ahmad said the delegation or any of its members did not issue any statement about converting the LoC into a permanent border or about 'Akhand Baharat' (greater India). 'But our statements were negatively painted in Pakistan.'Mohammad Imran adds Talking to Daily Times in Islamabad, Mr Ahmed said Vajpayee urged the need to find a solution to the Kashmir issue without external interference. 'Vajpayee said this is the last chance for any talks between Pakistan and India to sort out problems including Kashmir through bilateral talks without third party involvement.'