February 2008 News

‘After Kosovo, It Would Be Kashmir’

18 February 2008

Srinagar: The declaration of Azadi (independence) by the people of Kosovo has buoyed up pro-freedom leadership of Kashmir which believes the development is “yet another example” of new nations coming into existence “despite repression and suppression.” The pro-India leaders, however, say “there can be no comparisons between Kosovo and Kashmir.” Yasin Malik “The freedom of Kosovo should serve as a source of inspiration for the people of Kashmir to continue our struggle till we achieve our goal,” Yasin Malik, chairman of pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, told etala’at. Independence of Kosovo, according to Malik, “immortalizes the fact that sacrifices of martyrs for freedom of their motherland never go in vain.” Malik added: “The international community, particularly the European Union, should play a pro-active role towards the resolution of Kashmir issue as they did in case of Kosovo.” Syed Geelani Veteran pro-freedom leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani sounded more enthusiastic over the creation of Kosovo, a Muslim-majority area, which announced its independence from Christian-Serbia on Sunday. “It is a moment of delight for Muslims all over the world,” Geelani told etala’at by phone from New Delhi. Geelani, who heads a faction of Hurriyat Conference, said the creation of a Muslim state within the European Union has strengthened the resolve of the people of Kashmir to achieve their right to self- determination. “The day is not far away,” Geelani said, “when the people of Kashmir will announce their Independence from imperial India.” Geelani said it was “very unfortunate” that both Russia and Serbia have cited apprehensions about the welfare of the minorities in the newly-created state of Kosovo. “This shows their double- standards,” he said. “When it comes to Muslims who are facing oppression under several regimes across the world they shut their eyes by saying that Muslims are in minority under a secular set up and are equally enjoying their rights.” Shabir Shah Senior leader Hurriyat Conference (M) Shabir Shah said, “We congratulate the people of Kosovo for achieving freedom for which they have laid innumerable sacrifices. Independence of Kosovo should serve as an eye- opener to those who say that (Kashmir’s) Accession with India is final and rule out the creation of an independent Kashmir.” Shah said, “Such people and parties should stop serving the interests of their masters for petty interests and join hands with us towards the formation of an independent Kashmir as the day is not far away when the people of Kashmir will announce their independence as done by the people of Kosovo.” Mehbooba Mufti According to Mehbooba Mufti, who heads pro-India Peoples Democratic Party, a partner of Kashmir’s coalition government, “there can be no comparisons between Kosovo and Kashmir.” “The issue of Kashmir is a political one whereas the issue of Kosovo was a religious one,” Mehbooba told etala’at. “However, both India and Pakistan need to get serious about the issue for which more than one lakh Kashmiris have laid down their lives.” She added: “The people of Kosovo have been demanding independence for many years from an oppressive regime which committed many atrocities on them and the announcement of independence itself indicates that the international community needs to get serious about such disputes across the world.” Mehbooba said that Kashmir’s tallest leader Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah “decided to accede with India” after evaluating its secular credentials. “But under the present circumstances both India and Pakistan need to show urgency to resolve the lingering dispute and for the resolution of Kashmir issue a stable Pakistan is important as the recent developments in Pakistan have not helped the cause of Kashmir.” Mehboob Beigh Commenting over Kosovo’s declaration of Azadi from Serbia, provincial president of opposition National Conference, Dr Mehboob Beigh said, “These things are bound to happen when political issues are not addressed politically.” He said, “Similar emotions were observed in Kashmir in early 90s and I fear if the issue is not resolved immediately anything can happen in future.”

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