Fazls bid for Kashmir Committee raises eyebrows

5 April 2008
The News International
Usman Manzoor

ISLAMABAD: Maulana Fazlur Rehman is trying hard to become the Chairman of the Kashmir Committee and is pressurising the Pakistan People's Party through the same forces who have brought the MQM and PPP close to each other, The News has learnt. But Kashmiri leaders have raised their eyebrows regarding the Maulana's possible induction as the chairman of the Kashmir Committee. Sources told The News that Maulana Fazlur Rehman was using the same forces that had softened the hearts of the PPP and MQM for each other in the last fortnight. 'The MMA leader lost his popularity among the Kashmiri freedom fighters after the international Deoband Conference, which was held in 2000 at Peshawar where Indian scholars gave a Fatwa against the Kashmir Jihad and Maulana Fazlur Rehman seconded that,' the sources said, adding, 'Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzae, a scholar from Karachi, differed at that point and declared that the Jihad in Kashmir was valid and true.' The sources said that the leaders of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) had raised their eyebrows over the possible induction of Fazl as the chairman Kashmir Committee and Syed Ali Gilani, the APHC leader in occupied Kashmir, had also expressed his reservations. APHC leader Farooq Rehmani in Islamabad told The News that though the Kashmiris had reservations over Maulana Fazlur Rehman as chairman Kashmir Committee but it was an internal matter of Pakistan government. He said that the APHC wanted a person appointed as the chairman who would work for the cause of Kashmir. 'He should know the essence of Kashmiris struggle and he should be able to raise the 60-year-long dispute at the international level effectively,' the APHC leader said, adding, 'No such person be appointed who does not have a soft corner for the blood that the Kashmiris have shed for the past half century.' The sources said that internally the PML-N and the PPP also did not want Maulana Fazlur Rehman as the chairman of the Kashmir Committee. They added that JUI Senator from Sindh, Khalid Mehmood Soomro, had also been against the Jihad in Kashmir and his speeches and interviews in the past had been against the Kashmiris. However, both the mainstream political parties were reluctant to comment on the issue. Siddique Al-Farooq, Joint Secretary of the PML-N, said that the coalition took decisions unanimously and if there were any reservations, they would be addressed first. He said that he was unaware of Fazl as the chairman Kashmir Committee and any decision regarding the chairman of the committee would be taken after consultations with all the parties. Senator Farhatullah Babar, the official spokesman of PPP, said that no decision had been taken and the question of Maulana Fazlur Rehman as the chairman of the committee should be asked from the Maulana himself. The Maulana was not available for comments.