Kashmir APC fails to reach consensus on solution
9 February 2004
Our Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: An all parties' conference of the Kashmiri leadership, convened on Monday by the president of Azad Kashmir, retired Maj Gen Sardar Mohammad Anwar, failed to reach a consensus on probable solutions for Kashmir , while two major AJK opposition parties boycotted the conference on different grounds. Sultan Chaudhry, president of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) section of the Pakistan Peoples Party and leader of the opposition in the AJK legislative assembly distanced himself from the conference on the grounds that the AJK Prime Minister Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan had been invited to the meeting. It was the second meeting convened by the Kashmiri leadership in 23 days. Earlier another conference of the all Kashmiri leadership from both sides of the Line of Control was convened by the leader of the opposition on January 18. Mr Chaudhry's argument about boycotting the moot was that after supporting the so-called Chenab formula as a possible solution, the AJK prime minister had become a disputed figure against whom a disqualification reference was pending in the state's apex court and hence he should not have been invited to the moot convened by the AJK president. Meanwhile, Sardar Khalid Ibrahim of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Party told newsmen that he could not attend any meeting convened by the AJK president Sardar Anwar who in his opinion was an alien in the present set up in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The main purpose why the AJK president convened the meeting was to get a resolution passed by the Kashmiri leadership welcoming the Musharraf-Vajpayee statement of January 6. He, however, failed in his attempts when the opposition leadership differed with the set of resolutions prepared under the supervision of AJK president and agreed to them only when these were subjected to drastic changes. Interestingly, Sardar Sawar Khan of PPP AJK participated in the deliberations of the resolution committee, but then he left the conference when the party announced its boycott. While Pakistan recognised only Syed Ali Gilani's group of All Parties Conference (APHC) the leadership of the pro-peace process Ansari group representatives were also invited to the conference. The organizers of the conference had invited the newsmen for a briefing in the afternoon, but when even after a delay of over 90 minutes no one showed up, the newsmen left the venue. Later, a statement issued by the AJK president regretted the delay in providing the briefing which he attributed to the long-winded speeches of the participating leaders. Some of the resolutions released to the newsmen before the conclusion of the conference reiterated that Kashmiris were the fundamental party to the Kashmir issue and no talks between India and Pakistan could be fruitful without involving Kashmiris in these talks, therefore, the conference demanded the inclusion of the Kashmiri leadership in the dialogue process, so that a peaceful solution to the Kashmir dispute could be found. The conference welcomed the proposal of starting a bus service from Muzaffarabad to Srinagar and demanded the opening of a couple of more routes for the people living in the south of Peer Panjal and said at least the Madarpur-Poonch highway should be opened immediately. Prominent among those who attended the meeting on Kashmir were Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan PM AJK, Sardar Abdul Qayum Khan former premier, Sardar Ateeq Ahmed Khan president of the ruling Muslim Conference, Ijaz Afzal Khan AJK JI, Abdul Majeed Malik Liberation league, Amanullah Khan Liberation front, Sardar Mohammad Hayat Khan, Syed Yusuf Naseem APHC (Ansari), Nazir Shal APHC (Gilani), Maulana Mohammad Yusuf Khan JUI AJK, Altaf Qadri representative of Yasin Malik, Ateequr Rahman Faizpuri JUI (J&K) and Maulana Ghulam Nabi Nosherwi JI (occupied Kashmir).