January 2008 News

Hurriyat to boycott elections

8 January 2008
The Daily Excelsior

SRINAGAR: Moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference today said it would not take part in any elections but was not averse to a referendum to prove its representative character. 'Hurriyat Conference is not averse to (take part in) a referendum for proving its representative character which would lead to resolution of Kashmir issue,' Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told reporters here. He said Hurriyat would not shy away from any proposal or suggestion which would lead to resolution of Kashmir issue as per the wishes and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. However, the amalgam, which was undergoing a phase of restructuring, would not take part in any elections meant for formation of a Government. 'Elections at the moment are an administrative issue and not for resolution of Kashmir issue. In this format, we are not going to take part in the elections,' Mirwaiz said. The Hurriyat chairman said no solution to Kashmir issue 'within the framework of Indian or Pakistani constitutions would be acceptable to people of the State'. 'Status quo is not acceptable...We have to move beyond it, be it on this side of the Line of Control or on the other side of it,' he said. Mirwaiz said Hurriyat was open to discussions for resolution of Kashmir issue, including the four-point formula of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. While supporting the dialogue process between India and Pakistan, Mirwaiz said the inclusion of the representatives of people of Jammu and Kashmir in the talks was inevitable for resolution of Kashmir issue. Welcoming the unity proposal given by democratic freedom party president Shabir Ahmad Shah, the Hurriyat chairman said the initiative was a step in the right direction and the amalgam would give a positive response to it. 'We welcome the suggestions put forward by Shah...Some of these have already been implemented within the Hurriyat Conference by way of restructuring. These suggestions would be deliberated upon by the amalgam,' he said. Mirwaiz said he would call on Shah to invite him to join the Hurriyat from which he was expelled in 1998 for violating the Constitution of the amalgam. 'All efforts are being made to reach out to all like-minded (separatists) leaders and parties to form a united platform. Muslim Khawateen Markaz and Azam Inqilabi have already joined while Sheikh Abdul Aziz has agreed in principle to join the amalgam,' he said. On the hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and JKLF chief Mohammad Yaseen Malik, he said 'we have not closed the doors on anyone. There might be difference of opinion but we have to make progress as we all have the same goal'. Mirwaiz said there was no serious contact with Geelani on the unity issue at the moment but 'we respect him and wish we could be together'. Giving details of the restructuring within the Hurriyat, he said all the political activities of the constituent parties of the amalgam would now be carried out under one banner. No political statement would be issued separately by the constituent parties. Gradually, we would like to convert the amalgam into a single party which would have its presence at the grassroots level in the State, he said. Mirwaiz said offices would be opened at block, tehsil, district and regional levels across the State. 'We will have offices in Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh and on the other side of Line of Control as well. Time has come when Hurriyat needs to go out to the people,' he added. (PTI)

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