‘FIRST STEP TOWARDS KASHMIR’S ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE’
Naseer A Ganai
Srinagar, September 26: Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq today welcomed the initiative of New Delhi and Islamabad to allow LoC trade from October 21, describing it as first step towards economic freedom of Kashmir.However, Mirwaiz said trade with AJK had to be like any other province of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and assured people that the day was not far away when Kashmiris would trample this bloody line (Line of Control between AJK and Jammu and Kashmir).
Addressing thousands of people at the Jamia Masjid here, Mirwaiz said Kashmiris had given countless sacrifices since 1947 for their right to self-determination, and Kashmir Day was being observed today in Doda, Kishtiwar, Rajouri, Poonch, Kargil and other parts of Kashmir to pay homage to those who have sacrificed their lives for the cause. He said this day ‘we pledge to continue the struggle.’
Mirwaiz said that India had realized that it cannot subdue Kashmiris through “brute violence” and there is a section in India which has started advocating Kashmir cause in its right perspective. Mirwaiz however described the present situation as crucial one and said far great responsibilities lie on everyone not to let this movement go away this time. “One mistake at this juncture would push us thousands of years away from our goal,” Mirwaiz said asking people to remain on guard against elements trying hard to break the Hurriyat, break the unity and divide the movement on sectarian lines.
Spelling out the vision of economic liberation, Mirwaiz said Kashmir was being discussed in international forums these days and the accord between Islamabad and New Delhi to allow trade from October 21 was announcement of first win of indefatigable struggle of Kashmiris. Mirwaiz described the opening of the road for trade as great leap forward and said the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road would serve as permanent route not an alternative route.
He said, “In present era of globalization, concept of borderless world has emerged in different parts of the world. In Europe and other regions people move across freely and trade with each other without any hassle. Why can’t this happen here,” Mirwaiz said. Let the vehicles and trucks move across, he added.
He said the recent economic blockade of Kashmir by communalists should serve as eye opener to all Kashmiris. He said before the partition Kashmir was self-reliant but today the situation was totally different. He said under design Kashmiris were made dependent for even small things. “So time has come when we should move forward towards the economic as well as political freedom,” he said.
DIALOGUE PROCESS AND ELECTIONS
Referring to meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the president Asif Ali Zardari in New York, Mirwaiz said India and Pakistan have taken steps but they have to take more steps and should approach the problem with sincerity and speed. He said India and Pakistan have to speed up the dialogue process. Both the countries, he said, have to initiate dialogue with Kashmiris as well. The peace process, Mirwaiz said should be taken to its logical end by holding talks with pro-freedom leadership for resolution of Kashmir dispute. Mirwaiz said Hurriyat Conference would give all support to the process for resolution of Kashmir dispute. He said India should not resort to short-term policies of economic packages presuming they would solve the issue. He said economic packages were not solution to Kashmir dispute.
He said Kashmiris were not against India, saying Kashmiris welcome India’s economic growth. “We have no problems with the growth and development of India,” he said. Pakistan, he said, was also signing the agreement with China. But he said both countries should understand they have responsibilities as well. He however said peace was only pre-condition for the development and growth in the region and the peace would not come in the region unless Kashmir dispute was resolved. He said no peace would come in Jammu and Kashmir either, unless you resolve the Kashmir issue. Mirwaiz said ‘we have rejected elections in past as we believe that elections would not resolve Kashmir dispute. That is why we want solution of Kashmir dispute, not elections.’
Mirwaiz said Kashmiris were not terrorists and fundamentalists. He said during movement against the diversion of land to the Amarnath Shrine Board not a single yatri (pilgrim) was touched. Still the BJP and the Bajrang Dal tried to communalize issue, Mirwaiz said adding Kashmiris believe in co-existence but it should not be viewed our weakness. “Present struggle was not against any sect or any group as being portrayed by some communalists of India.”
He said Kashmiris were bombed, killed and targeted through teargas shells but they didn’t make the situation communal. He condemned the invoking of Public Safety Act against pro-freedom people of Poonch, Rajouri, Doda and Kishtwar.
He said arrests and other tactics couldn’t browbeat people of Jammu and Kashmir and condemned the arrests of leaders in past one month and booked under PSA. He demanded immediate and unconditional release of Shabir Ahmad Shah, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Aasiya Andrabi and others.
KASHMIR DAY, PALESTINE DAY
Later Mirwaiz Umar participated in Kashmir Day and Palestine day programme. The programme was organised after Friday prayers. The day is being observed to make international community aware about its responsibility towards resolving Kashmir and Palestine issues.
Speaking on the occasion, Nayeem Ahmad Khan paid rich tributes to martyrs. He said the people’s movement would not be cowed down by arrests and repression. In his fiery speech he said some elements were trying to break the unity of Hurriyat and the Coordination Committee. He asked people to remain on guard against such elements. He said people should follow the programmes of the Coordination Committee. He said the movement was in crucial juncture and the leadership was fully aware about its responsibilities. Nayeem said that no one would be allowed to create differences in the Hurriyat or the Coordination.