Plan for march on LoC from both sides

25 August 2008
The Dawn
Ashraf Mumtaz

LAHORE: A former prime minister of Azad Kashmir is contacting All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leaders in occupied Kashmir to discuss with them a schedule for a simultaneous march on the Line of Control from both sides to make it irrelevant and announce a “symbolic liberation” of the divided state. Barrister Sultan Mahmood, who is president of the People’s Muslim League, told Dawn on Monday that LoC was just like what was once the Berlin Wall between East Germany and West Germany and would not be tolerated any more. According to him, the APHC leaders of held Kashmir have agreed to his plan, but a schedule for the proposed march will be finalised after more consultations. The former AJK prime minister said there was a need for fresh and simultaneous elections in both parts of Kashmir in the coming few months so that genuine representatives of the Kashmiri people could be elected. People taking part in the polls must get a mandate from their constituents to find a solution to the Kashmir dispute, he said. The United Nations Human Rights Watch must supervise the polls to ensure their transparency and impartiality, he said. He said the people elected as a result of such elections would be the genuine representatives of Kashmiri people and have a right to represent them in talks between Pakistan and India. He said although Pakistan and India were parties to the Kashmir dispute, an ultimate solution to the dispute would not be possible unless the representatives of the Kashmiris were included in talks. Replying to a question about the movement witnessed in occupied Kashmir these days, Barrister Sultan said it was “people’s revolution” which was stronger than the liberation struggle that had erupted in 1988-89. He said in the past leaders had been leading the people, but this time it was the other way round. He said it was the people of occupied Kashmir who had brought the leaders out on the streets. Asked why the APHC leaders were saying that the Kashmiris wanting liberation from India would also not like accession to Pakistan, the former prime minister said the leaders did not want to play any divisive role. At present, he argued, people from all shades of opinion, including those who were in favour of an autonomous Kashmir, were taking part in the new phase of the liberation movement. And in case any leader talked of accession to Pakistan, those having a different opinion might think of parting ways.