February 2008 News

‘Kosovo move a boon to Kashmiris’

23 February 2008
The Dawn

SRINAGAR: Freedom fighters in occupied Kashmir said on Saturday that Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence had bolstered their resolve to achieve the same status for the disputed territory. Kosovo last Sunday declared independence from Serbia, which vowed never to recognise the move. Kosovo’s independence declaration has “strengthened our resolve to achieve freedom for Kashmir,” leading Kashmiri leader Shabir Shah told AFP. Several countries, including the United States and Britain, have recognised Kosovo as a new state, but India said it was studying the legal ramifications. India is wary of recognising Kosovo as an independent state because of its potential implications for Kashmir, racked by a nearly two-decade freedom struggle against New Delhi’s occupation that has left more than 43,000 people dead. “Kosovo’s independence is an indicator that struggles based on truth and justice never fail,” Mr Shah said, adding the day is not “far when Kashmiris will be free.” Shabir Shah, 54, who heads the pro-independence Democratic Freedom Party, is dubbed the ‘Nelson Mandela’ of Kashmir after spending more than 20 years in Indian jails. “The world community, the European Union in particular, should play a Kosovo-like role in getting the dispute resolved” in Kashmir, said Yasin Malik, chairman of another pro-independence group Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front.—AFP

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