February 2006 News

'Hurriyat does not represent all Kashmiris'

4 February 2006
The Hindu
Luv Puri

Muzaffarabad: Prime Minister of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir Sikandar Hayat Khan has said the All Parties Hurriyat Conference cannot claim to represent the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir. 'The All Parties Hurriyat Conference is certainly not the representative of the entire State and any person who knows the State in its entirety will agree with me. I already told them during my interaction when they called upon me recently that the dialogue has no meaning till the time it becomes representative of the wide-ranging diversity which exists in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. A particular region or a locality cannot decide the future of the entire State on both sides of the Line of Control. There are divergent urges and aspirations in the State and the best way to reconcile these is through a process of dialogue and open mind. The dialogue is a civilised medium to hear from the other side. I am a strong votary of keeping the unity of the State intact and this is something which I have gathered from realistic understanding of facts,' he said in an interview to The Hindu. Mr. Khan, by extending support to the unity of the State, distanced himself from PoK President Sardar Mohammad Anwar's recent statement, which did not rule out a division. Mr. Khan also expressed his willingness to buy goods from India for the reconstruction of quake-affected areas of PoK. 'The factor of geography dictated that the relief could have been provided easily from the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir. For instance, after the quake it took us 27 days to fully open the road to Neelum valley and rush our supplies. This could have been done in 40 to 45 minutes from the Indian side. Anyway, this did not happen.Let us see towards the future and in this spirit I am prepared to buy goods from the Indian side if they are willing. We can directly buy things from India based on comparative advantage. For instance, a single tin sheet is available at Rs. 900 in Pakistani markets, whereas the same sheet is available in India at Rs. 350. Cement can also be bought from the Indian market as it is cheaper there. If the Indian Government is serious, it must make an offer. We are ready to make the payment for it.' Pragmatic proposal On Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's statement ruling out complete independence for the State and, instead, advocating self-rule, he said: 'The statement has lot of pragmatism. The independence of the State of Jammu and Kashmir is ruled out for the moment. The State is landlocked. It has two nuclear powers as neighbours. Both sides of the State have budget deficits and economically both are dependent on the two countries.'

 

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