JKLF Supports Indo-Pakistan Endeavour To Peace
3 January 2004
News Network International
Srinagar: Describing Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistani President General Pervez Musharaf as statesmen, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman Muhammad Yaseen Malik appealed them to translate their 'visionary words' into 'visionary deeds' by beging a peace process that would end in finding lasting solution of the Kashmir dispute. Addressing a press briefing here, Malik strongly defended his on-going signature campaign, describing it as a democratic and peaceful way to counter the claims of those in power 'trying to portray themselves as representatives of the people,' Greater Kashmir reported. While speaking in optimistic tone about the upcoming SAARC summit, he read out a three page statement addressed to Atal Behari Vajpaye and General Pervez Mushraff and asked both the leaders to open a new chapter in the history of South Asia by undertaking a peace process involving the people of Kashmir. 'Extremists on both sides may oppose such a bold move on your part, I urge both of you to seize this opportunity', the statement said. Malik, who refused to take any question during the briefing, however described the JKLF support to Indo-Pak dialogue on the Kashmir dispute as 'something contrary to its policy in past.' 'We have always opposed attempts by India and Pakistan to decide Kashmir issue without Kashmiris and whenever India and Pakistan held talks ostensibly to discuss Kashmir we have organised protests and strikes against it.' 'But this time we have decided to support the opening between India and Pakistan for a broader peace process and urge you (Vajpayee and Musharraf) to involve the people of Kashmir in finding agreeable solution to the dispute.' Malik, who was flanked by his deputy Javid Ahmad Mir and General Secretary Bashir Ahmad Bhat, said millions of Kashmiris conform to the JKLF view that they should be involved in the peace process and they have endorsed it through on going signature campaign, in which more than 800,000 Kashmiris have hitherto participated. About the signature campaign, he said in last six months he along with other leaders of the Front has visited hundreds of villages and collected 800,000 signatures. 'Wherever we went people thronged to us, though we were not talking about employment and SRO 42. The people in rural areas have suffered most during last 13 years and despite fear of oppressors they come forward to listen to us, this shows their commitment towards the movement and cause', Malik said, asking the media persons to visit the rural areas and cover the human rights abuses. Lashing out at Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led government and healing touch philosophy of the chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, he said, 'They talk about healing touch, peace with dignity and other such things. You should visit our villages, talk to women folk there and you will come to know about the truth.' Human rights situation, he said, 'was terrible in our villages and oppression and suppression was at its peak.' 'Forced labor, assault on women, custodial killings have become norm in rural belt', he said and asked media persons to cover such issues. 'Unfortunately such terrible things go unreported on the behest of director information,' he alleged. 'Many times in our statements we wrote about atrocities but they were not published by the papers here. Later on some friends from journalistic fraternity told me that such things are being stopped on the behest of the Director', he said. The signature campaign, Malik said, was answer to those who have turned protagonists of oppressors and claim themselves as 'representatives of people'. 'The campaign is a transparent exercise not a fraud like elections', he added.