Stop Jihad In Kashmir: Pak To Hizb
20 February 2004
The Indian Express
Islamabad: As part of its 'back channel' diplomacy, Pakistan told militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen ahead of the just-concluded Indo-Pak talks that jihad was no longer a feasible option to press for the resolution of the Kashmir issue and advised it to declare a ceasefire, Hizb sources said. Pakistani officials met Hizbul leader Syed Salahuddin on the eve of the three-day official-level talks that concluded on Wednesday with the agreement on timetable and roadmap for resumption of the composite dialogue, and told him that jihad is no more a good strategy to seek the settlement of the Kashmir dispute,' Hizbul sources were quoted as saying by The Friday Times weekly. The meeting between Hizbul leaders and Pakistani officials was part of the 'back channel' diplomacy launched by government from January 6, the day India and Pakistan issued a joint statement after the meeting between Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and President Pervez Musharraf during which the general expressed his commitment not to let Pakistani territory to be used for terrorist activities against India. During their meeting with Salahuddin, Pakistan government representatives told him that the rapidly-changing geopolitical circumstances require a change of strategy and jihad was no longer feasible, the report said. Salhuddin was also told that jihad had achieved its purpose. 'It has revived the dead issue of Kashmir at the global level. Now the time has come to employ diplomacy and politics to resolve this issue,' he was told.