Hurriyat delegation meets militant groups in UJC
23 January 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Islamabad: Notwithstanding militant groups’ criticism of moderate Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq’s remark about the futility of violence in Kashmir, he met several members of United Jehad Council, an amalgam of various militant groups and sought their cooperation for the peace process between India and Pakistan. Several leaders of the militant groups of the UJC showed keen interest about the progress made by the dialogue process between India and Pakistan to resolve Kashmir issue, the Mirwaiz said PTI here. 'There are many groups and leaders from the UJC who are supportive of the process. In the UJC, there are about 18 parties. People have been coming individually and meeting us. There are groups and leaders. They are quite keen that this process should move further,' Farooq said. His remarks came ahead of a conference of moderate leaders convened by him and the political leadership of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir on January 26. 'At the same time, they do have certain inhibitions and concerns. What we are saying is that they should support the process, wait for a while and see how the process goes on. I am nobody to say what they should do and it is upto them but I think there can be no military solution to Kashmir,' he said. However, the Mirwaiz clarified that he had no meeting with Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Salahuddin, who is also the Chairman of the UJC. The amalgam had opposed the the Mirwaiz’s statement on ending of militancy. On the fifth day of his visit today, the Hurriyat team, also compromising Abdul Gani Bhat and Bilal Lone, met leaders of Pakistan’s opposition political parties including leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-N, (PML-N) and Muthahid Quami Movement (MQM). The Mirwaiz, however, said that the delegation had no plans to meet Jamaat-e-Islami, which shared ideological and political affiliation with hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani. Jamaat and some other groups had organised a rally in Islamabad on January 10 opposing their visit. About his visit to Islamabad, the Mirwaiz said several Pakistan-based groups had been meeting the team for the past few days to discuss the progress of dialogue process. Farooq also said some of his remarks on the relevance of militancy in Kashmir were projected wrongly in the media. 'What I said was that militants should give peace a chance. We feel that time has come for all those who believe in the process has to come forward,' he said. 'I believe the time has come for those elements who were involved in violence should come forward and strengthen the peace process and try to see how things can move on,' he said. Elaborating on the 'thinking' of some of the leaders of the militant groups, Farooq said their public statements need not necessarily reflect the truth. 'Among the Kashmiri groups many commanders are inclined to support the process but they also want some movement forward,' he said. However, the Mirwaiz felt India has not done enough to take forward the dialogue initiated by the Hurriyat with Indian Prime Ministers since 2004. 'Status quo is not acceptable and we have move beyond it. We have to look at options and explore possibilities,' he said.