Make LoC Irrelevant, Says Former PoK Premier

Make LoC Irrelevant, Says Former PoK Premier

20 September 2011
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: The former Prime Minister of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Barrister Sultan Mehmood Chaudhary, on Tuesday said the day was not far off “when the ‘Berlin Wall' will collapse and the two Kashmirs will unite forever.” He was referring to the Line of Control. He became the first political leader of PoK to address a public gathering in the historic Lal Chowk. He is on a five-day “private” visit to Kashmir. “I came to Kashmir with tears in my eyes and smile on my face.” ‘Freedom struggle' He said the people across the LoC were in full support of the “freedom struggle” launched by the people of this side. “When I landed here, I right away visited the martyrs' graveyard. I assure you that their blood won't go waste and the sun of freedom would rise very soon,” he said. “People of this side would continue to receive moral and emotional support from PoK.” He had a busy day in Srinagar as he met hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, representatives of the moderate Hurriyat Conference, addressed lawyers at the Kashmir Bar Association, spoke to the Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEC) members and visited the tourist resort of Pahalgam in the company of Minister of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani. On Monday, he met Chief Minister Omar Abdullah at the wedding of the son of a prominent businessman. Centre's Interlocutor Radha Kumar was present at the wedding. Accompanied by Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik, Mr. Chaudhary made an appearance in the Maisuma area of the Lal Chowk and spoke briefly to a gathering. He was given a rousing reception by the people of Maisuma, with women singing traditional Kashmiri songs (wanwun), showering garlands and chanting “pro-freedom” slogans. Addressing lawyers at the High Court Complex, Mr. Chaudhary said Pakistan had diplomatic, political, cultural and emotional bonding with Kashmir. “Pakistan is facing problems both at the internal and external level but when it comes to Kashmir it [the country] has never ever failed to shoulder its responsibilities.” Political issue “We want to assure Kashmiris that people of Pakistan will never accept any formula or resolution aimed at dividing Kashmir,” Mr. Chaudhary said, adding Kashmir was a political issue, which needed to be addressed through dialogue. To a question by a lawyer on his meeting with Mr. Abdullah, Mr. Chaudhary said he raised the issues of “human rights violations” and unmarked graves. He said the LoC should be made irrelevant. “I have information that the PaK Chamber of Commerce is going for an election on September 26. After that, all your points will be seriously considered,” he assured the KEA members. He also advocated formation of a joint chamber of traders of the two sides of Kashmir. “I think this is where the solution to your problems lies. When the traders of the two sides meet, it will go a long way to help resolve the issues of traders of the two sides. But one major thing is needed for that - the LoC should be made irrelevant and there should be free movement across the LoC.”


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