Now Salahuddin emerges, rallies PoK on Kashmir

4 September 2008
The Indian Express
Riyaz Wani

Srinagar: Hizbul Mujahideen commander and United Jihad Council chairman Syed Salahuddin on Thursday held a conference in Muzaffarabad and expressed strong disapproval of Pakistan’s current stance on Kashmir. The conference, titled Defence of Jammu and Kashmir, was attended by a number of militant outfits. Salahuddin also led a march through the streets of Muzaffarabad. He berated the new Pakistani regime for being indifferent to Kashmir. “It’s time Pakistan ends all ties with India and opts out of an unproductive dialogue process,” he said and reiterated his demand for an increase in the budgetary allocations for “Azaadi struggle” in Kashmir by both Pakistan and PoK governments. Salahudin, however, supported the trade across the Line of Control, demanding the opening of “all natural routes” connecting the two Kashmirs. “The economic blockade of Kashmiris has necessitated the opening of all natural routes and transportation of goods on either side. But this trade has to be free from the restrictions which have been imposed on the bus services between the two Kashmirs,” he added. PoK based Hurriyat leaders and members of other militant outfits, including the Lashkar-e-Toiba, addressed the gathering. PoK based Hurriyat leader and a former Jamaat-i-Islami ideologue from the Kashmir Valley, Ghulam Muhammad Safi, Shaikh Jamil-ur-Rehman, Abdul Aziz Alvi, Farooq Qureshi and Shaukat Wani addressed Salahuddin’s conference. Thursday’s conference was part of a series of conferences and events in Pakistan following the Amarnath land row. Jamat-u-Dawah, for instance, had organised a conference on August 31 and a rally in Chowburji, Lahore, early last month. Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed had also called Hurriyat hawk Geelani on the day of Muzaffarabad chalo march, assuring him that Dawah would launch a “countrywide campaign” to restore the supply lines to Kashmir through PoK. “We assure Kashmiris that they have the backing of entire Pakistani nation,” Sayeed had told Geelani.