Hizb appreciates Omar's call for talks with Salah-ud-Din
5 April 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Blowing indications of a change in the Kashmir political scenario, Hizbul Mujahideen has appreciated the National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah's call for involving the Muttahida Jehad Council (MJC) chief, Syed Salah-ud-Din, in a dialogue process over withdrawal of troops and resolving the 60-year-old crisis between India and Pakistan. In a statement to Srinagar-based news agency, KNS, Hizb spokesman Junaid-ul-Islam described Omar Abdullah's call to New Delhi and Islamabad as 'realistic and need of the hour'. While addressing a public meeting at Tulmulla in Ganderbal on Wednesday, Omar had asked India and Pakistan to engage the Hizbul Mujahideen and MJC supremo, Syed Salah-ud-Din, with the current peace process over Jammu & Kashmir and withdrawal of troops. 'Current process of dialogue with traditional politicians and those who have become leaders by default has no significance beyond a photo-session value', Hizb spokesman is reported to have said. He has referred to Salah-ud-din's repeated assertions that there could be no resolution of the Kashmir crisis in absence of talks with the MJC. Politician-turned-militant leader, Salah-ud-Din is known for his belief that involvement of the guerrilla leadership was a must for making any peace process meaningful and credible. 'National Conference is considered to be a mainstream, pro-Indian political party. The statement of its President (calling for involving the Hizb chief with the peace process) is realistic and need of the hour', Hizb spokesman is reported to have said in his statement delivered over telephone. According to him, Salah-ud-Din was the only Kashmiri leader whose engagement with the peace process over Kashmir was being publicly sought not only by the militant and the separatist leadership but also by the pro-Indian political leadership. It is for the first time in its 17-year-long history that Kashmir's formidable guerrilla organisation, Hizbul Mujahideen, has publicly issued a positive statement in endorsement of the stand taken by Jammu & Kashmir's largest mainstream political party. On the other hand, NC too has taken a substantial shift from its patriarch Dr Farooq Abdullah's known hatred for Hizbul Mujahideen and militants who are estimated to have killed over a thousand of his party leaders and workers since 1988. Significantly again, Hizbul Mujahideen has issued today's statement in days of summarily dismissing the PDP's stand on demilitarisation and Centre's formation of three high level committees for reviewing Armed Forces Special Powers Act and relocation of troops in the State.