Geelani Flays, Mirwaiz Hails New Kashmir Panel28 December 2010
Srinagar: Serious differences of perception in the azadi camp came to the fore once again on Tuesday as Syed Ali Shah Geelani rejected outright the formation of yet another parliamentary and civil society panel on Kashmir as a waste of time, while Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik welcomed the move, saying that it could prove productive in informing the Indian masses on the reality of Kashmir. “What is the point in forming such groups when the union home minister, P Chidambaram, himself has admitted that promises made to Kashmiris have not been kept, and when the entire world knows what Kashmiris want?” Geelani said. “Why don’t these individuals and politicians, who form these groups to talk about the Kashmir issue, not persuade the Indian government to grant Kashmiris there rights?” he asked. “Why don’t these delegations ask the government of India to grant Kashmiris there right of self-determination which it has endorsed by signing 18 UN resolutions?” he asked. Geelani said that the time for forming groups and delegations was over, and the need of the hour was to take practical steps to accord Kashmiris there rights. “Kashmiris have been making sacrifices for 63 years to secure their rights. Chastity of our women is being violated, homes are being burnt down, and if still these people say that the Indian masses need to be apprised of the true situation, it is nothing but a waste of time,” he said. The chairman of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, on the other hand, said that the move was a good initiative, and asserted that his alliance had already demanded that a parliamentary group be formed in Pakistan as well to aid in resolving the Kashmir issue. “The new group has two aspects. One is to mobilize public opinion in India and to condemn human rights violations in Kashmir. Second, if it is a serious effort to resolve the Kashmir issue, it necessarily needs to be welcomed,” the Mirwaiz said. The chairman of the JKLF, Muhammad Yasin Malik, too welcomed the move, saying that mobilizing public opinion in India was an urgent need. “Such initiatives can swing public opinion in India in favour of Kashmiris, and this is essential for resolving the issue,” he said. Shabir Ahmad Shah of the DFP also hailed the move to involve public opinion in India in the resolution process as a positive development, and said that the group should mount pressure on the Indian government to resolve the Kashmir issue through tripartite talks in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiris. The Jama’at-e-Islami, however, gave a qualified response, saying that the move should be centred on resolving the Kashmir issue and not be aimed at finding jobs or giving economic packages.