Salahuddin rejects ceasefire appeal, seeks Pakistani support
5 February 2007
The Daily Times
Muzaffarbad: Rejecting Mirwaiz Umar Farooqs appeal for a temporary ceasefire in Kashmir, a prominent Kashmiri guerrilla leader said Pakistan must support the militant campaign against Indian rule in the divided Himalayan region, and peace talks with India were futile. Monday was Kashmir Solidarity Day in Pakistan, a holiday introduced in the 1990s as a show of sympathy for Muslim insurgents who have been battling security forces in Indian Kashmir with Pakistani support since 1989. Pakistan-based Syed Salahuddin, who heads his own guerrilla faction and is leader of the United Jihad Council umbrella organisation of separatist groups fighting India rule, said, If Mirwaiz Umar Farooq or any other responsible personality of the world gives us the guarantee that India will withdraw its forces, we have no reason to refuse surrendering arms. Whenever President Gen Pervez Musharraf presents a proposal for demilitarisation in Kashmir, the Indian Army leadership rejects the proposal within 24 hours, he said, adding that he had no hope a three-year-old peace process would lead to agreement on Kashmir. I believe only a strong militant force backed and guided by a strong political force can help achieve a solution, he said in an interview over the telephone on Sunday. We dont see any positive, tangible outcome of the ongoing exercise, he said, referring to the talks. Let them do what they want to do, but we arent with them in this futile exercise, he said of the talks and those who back them, including moderate separatists in Indian Kashmir, some of whom have urged the guerrillas to back peace efforts. Apart from extending political, moral and diplomatic support, Pakistan should in particular support the militant front to remove a sense of deprivation and isolation among Kashmiris, said Salahuddin. President General Pervez Musharraf has been urging India to break the deadlock and resolve the dispute at the core of their hostility. He has drawn opposition from hard-liners and militant groups for his stand, but several ordinary Pakistanis back his efforts. Musharraf, in a message to mark Solidarity Day, said proposals he had made on Kashmir, combined with sincerity and goodwill, could lead to a durable solution.