Nationalists criticise Kashmir conference
23 May 2004
The Daily Times
GILGIT: Nationalist leaders of Gilgit and Baltistan have criticised a recently concluded conference here on Kashmir, saying no one representing the views of locals was invited. Nationalist leader Haider Shah Rizvi criticised the speeches and resolutions passed as a 'conspiracy'. He said the Kashmiri leaders and those of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) had done their best to distort the facts about Gilgit-Baltistan. 'They delivered lies in such abundance that even the dais could not bear the burden and collapsed,' Mr Rizvi said. He said the conference organisers lacked moral courage because they did not invite 'genuine leaders' from Gilgit-Baltistan to speak. 'How can Kashmiri leaders unite other people when they are themselves divided on the Kashmir issue?' Mr Rizvi also asked the MMA leaders why they failed to forge sectarian unity in the region, with Shias and Sunnis pitted against each other on issues such as the school curriculum. 'We have our own identity and a unique status which we don't wish to lose by binding ourselves to so-called pacts and agreements,' said Mumtaz Hussain Nagari, the Karakoram National Movement (KNM) chief organiser. He said the KNM would convene its own conference to highlight the true history of Gilgit-Baltistan. Mr Nagari said they would oppose any foreign intervention concerning their status.