APHC Ready For Polls Under Int'l Body: Bhat
28 January 2006
Rawalpindi: Former chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (Ansari Group) Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat has said that Hurriyat is ready to take part in the Kashmir Valley elections provided these are held under the supervision of some international forum. Prof Bhat was speaking at a reception hosted in his honour by AJK Government here on Saturday. AJK assembly members, politicians and social elite besides high government officials of the state attended the function. The veteran Kashmiri leader said that there was no harm in participating in the Kashmir Valley elections provided these elections would be held under the supervision of some international body such as Commonwealth and United Nations. However, he said these elections should not be held under the Indian or Pakistani election commissions. Further elaborating his idea, Prof. Abdul Ghani Bhat said that these elections should be arranged in all parts of Kashmir Valley in which all the inhabitants, including Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities should participate. He said that once the true representatives of the Kashmiri people were elected they would sit together and decide about the future of Kashmir. Prof Bhat said that arrangements were under way at international level and Kashmiris would have to carve out their place in it for which a well thought out strategy was required. He said that America had divided Muslims into fundamentalists, conservatives, progressives and seculars, and added that Kashmiris would have to work above these divisions and define their course. Terming the ongoing dialogue process very significant, Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat said that new avenues were opening up as a result of these dialogues. He said that now people from both sides were meeting each other which was helping them to understand issues and suggested that Kashmiris should be allowed to do business across LoC which would help in improving their economic condition. The Kashmiri leader said that proposals such as demilitarisation of Kashmir and self-rule were good but they needed careful understanding. He stressed the need for cohesion and unanimity of Kashmiri leadership on a single point. He said that Kashmiris also had some sketch of future Kashmir in their minds which would be presented at some appropriate time but at the moment they needed more unity for their cause. Prof Bhat said that at the same time the government of Pakistan should have to proceed with a concrete stand on Kashmir issue as the wavering in the principled stand by Pakistan would demoralise the Kashmiri nation. Speaking at the function, AJK Prime Minister Sardar Sikandar Hayat supported the demilitarisation and self-rule proposals given by President Gen. Pervez Musharraf and said that there was wisdom in self-rule. He said that the Oct. 8 earthquake had brought the Kashmiris living on both sides of Line of Control closer. The prime minister said that Kashmiris had always struggled for accession with Pakistan and added that they were patriotic people. Former AJK premier Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan said that Pakistan was not created out of extremism. He said that they had protected the Hindus and Sikhs arrested during the 1947 war and handed them over to Indian authorities and now Mujahideen were considering killing of their opponent as Jihad, which was a wrong interpretation of Jihad. Jammu and Liberation Front Chairman Amanullah Khan in his address stressed the need of unity and cohesion among the rank and file of Kashmiri nation as it was the only way to liberation. Jamiat Ulema Jammu and Kashmir President Pir Atiqur Rehman Faizpuri, Advisor to AJK Premier Raja Farooq Haider, President Muslim Conference Sardar Atiq Ahmad Khan and other Kashmiri leaders also addressed the function.