Kashmir’s All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman, a separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the Hurriyat is a legitimate body in Kashmir that represents Kashmiris and their daily struggles. Thus, it is imperative that the Hurriyat Conference hold a dialogue with both India and Pakistan.
The chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), Farooq said: ” being a key stakeholder in the Kashmir dispute, Pakistan has to reach out to separatists leaders to understand where things stand at present”.
“Pakistan has its own position on Kashmir and India fully understands that,” Farooq told media. “Pakistan is reaching out to us as it cannot reach out to India. They have their own issues to discuss. And this is nothing new, discussions have happened before also,” Farooq added.
Farooq further said that India cannot ignore the fact that Kashmir is half controlled by New Delhi and half by Islamabad.
“Kashmir is a political problem. This is not a Muslim Kashmir versus a Hindu India problem,” he said. “Pakistan was not made a party to this by us. So when we talk about peace in Kashmir, we have to speak to both India as well as Pakistan” he added.
“Moreover, this was the first time that the Imran Khan government was reaching out to us. They wanted an assessment of the situation here,” Farooq said.
The Hurriyat Chairperson highlighted the fact that during the tenure of NDA’s Late prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Hurriyat leaders were allowed by then deputy prime minister Lal Krishna Advani to visit Pakistan and meet then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
Farooq said he fears that violence in Kashmir is going to reach “unprecedented levels” in the coming months if the government does not allow the Hurriyat to engage with local people in the Valley.
“There is so much anger in the youth right now, I fear the cycle of violence is going to increase again. And this is going to be worse than what was witnessed when militancy reached its peak in the 1990s,” he added.
Farooq said under the Indian Army’s ‘Operation All-Out’, which began in 2017 and re-introduction of ‘Operation CASO’ (Cordon and Search Operation), young boys are getting indiscriminately killed just because they are on the street protesting.
He added that Jammu and Kashmir’s Constitutional safeguard is also under threat now. “They do not want to talk to us, they do not want to talk to Pakistan, how is this going to help them in their mission of bringing peace in Kashmir?”, Farooq asked?
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