DFP-222
Updated on 18-Jun-2009
Democratic Freedom Party

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India wants to mislead the world: Shabir Shah

 

Icon loadingShabir Ahmed Shah, the Secretary General of Hurriyat Conference talks to Wujood.com

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India has forcibly occupied our motherland but they can not enslave our hearts.......

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Poll Boycott: Why?

 
 

We have been vilified, denounced, condemned, tortured, beaten, jailed and even murdered.......but never defeated..Shabir Ahmed Shah

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J&K Gov.Site
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Front Page

Exclusive Interview to Kashmir Insight

 

"Mine is a principled stance. The world had admitted that Kashmir is a disputed territory. This issue has triggered three small and three full-scale wars. I am citizen of a disputed territory. To travel on Indian documents does not conform to my status as being inhabitant of a disputed area. Call it madness or my faith;...."
DFP President, Shabir Ahmed Shah, says in an exclusive interview with Editor, Kashmir Insight

 

Q: India didn’t positively respond to Pakistan’s fresh proposals on Kashmir. What are your comments?
 Shabir Shah: We welcomed demilitarization proposal from the Government of Pakistan and President Musharaf. It was because we thought demilitarization will undo the environment of fear and people will be fee to express their opinion. It was a good proposal. We had this opinion that if government of India was serious in solving the issue then it should accept the proposal. It is unfortunate that India did not respond positively to this proposal.
Q. What could be the reason of negative Indian attitude?
Shabir Shah: It is unfortunate; I would say Pakistan has exhibited matchless flexibility since 1947. it has talked of “out of box” solution. It even offered dialogue out of the ambit of UN Security Council Resolutions, if India had a will to resolve the issue I think this is the same point of view, which we Kashmiris hold. Let’s come to the table and then the party with logic and reasoning will carry the day. This is very simple. Let me tell you that our case is very strong. No UN resolutions on any surpass resolutions on Kashmir in number. India and Pakistan admit that Kashmir is a dispute. Notwithstanding our unmatched sacrifices which have cost us lives of hundreds of thousands & rendered countless towns into rubbles, we are peace loving people and ready to come to a solution through talks, provided India wanted that way too. We consider Kashmir a political issue and want a political solution for it. Unfortunately, all this is falling on deaf ears in New Delhi. Indian government showed no reaction to any proposals coming from either Pakistan of academia.
Q: Why are you not allowed to travel abroad?
Shabir Shah: Mine is a principled stance. The world had admitted that Kashmir is a disputed territory. This issue has triggered three small and three full-scale wars. I am citizen of a disputed territory. To travel on Indian documents does not conform to my status as being inhabitant of a disputed area. Call it madness or my faith; I can not come to terms with travelling on documents stating me Indian citizen. I want UN travel documents that show me a Kashmiri, inhabitant of a disputed territory & not a Indian citizen..

Q: Do you think you enjoy freedom of political activities?
Shabir Shah: Not at all. The other day I had planned to go the Hazratbal Shrine to participate in the function held with reference to the birthday of Holy Prophet (SAW). Thousands of pilgrims gather there. Hold prayers, and exchange views regarding the movement. I used to go there every year. However this time my residence was cordoned off and I was not allowed to step out of my house. This is just one example. Take election drama. If India believes in democracy then it should allow us to avail our right to canvass against casting votes because we politically believe so that this will lead us nowhere. However, we were recently barred fro going to people in Rafiabad and Pattan to contact people where a so called election dram was being played. Either we are arrested or our ways are blocked. We are not allowed to put our point of view in front of our own people. You will see no effect of confidence building measures, which are being pursued for the last two years in Occupied Kashmir. What you can see all is custodial killings, crackdowns and coercion, especially in rural areas where the Indian forces find no fear of getting exposed. Public is harassed & warned of dire consequences against attending our gatherings. India indeed is limiting our physical movement. There is no such thing as freedom of political activity in occupied Kashmir.
Q: What steps, you think, India should take improve situation in Occupied Kashmir?
Shabir Shah: Only smaller things, very small, indeed. What we are asking for is not a big deal. India government will not have to go into legislation in parliament to take measures that are required to improve situation in Kashmir so that process for the resolution of the ultimate issue can be initiated. Even opposition in New Delhi will not criticise the government for these steps. Our foremost demand is immediate release of political prisoners from Indian and Jammu Kashmir jails. Another demand is withdrawal of special powers act given to troops of regular Indian army and paramilitary forces’ personnel. Indian government should seriously move to stop custodial killings and trend of declaring innocent people missing after they are arrested. It should also bring it’s officers to account who have been involved for such human rights violations. Indian government should do so for creating an environment that is congenial to talks aimed at peace. War and talks do not go side by side India will need to take substantive & serious measures to make Kashmiris believe that it is serious about resolving the issue. Unfortunately nothing of that sort is visible here. A roundtable in recent past by India was but a joke. People who were invited to this roundtable were unknown to the Kashmiris. People of Kashmir are politically sensitive and conscious. Peace process can only be initiated when India gets ready to address the core issue. And involvement of Kashmiris is imperative to achieve perennial peace in the region. India will need to initiate meaningful and result oriented dialogue with Kashmiris and Pakistan.
Q: you just talked of Round Table. Another roundtable is being planned in Srinagar. What India intends to get out of it?
Shabir Shah: This is but a joke. The invitees include pro Indian stooges like congress, PDP and people form Panthers Party. Interestingly these people being represented by India herself. These people have played games with freedom and are. I don’t ask that I only can represent Kashmiris, but at least there should be people who consider Kashmir as a dispute, those who challenge accession. I repeat this is but a joke.
Q: Do you think you enjoy freedom of political activities?
Shabir Shah: Not at all. The other day I had planned to go the Hazratbal Shrine to participate in the function held with reference to the birthday of Holy Prophet (SAW). Thousands of pilgrims gather there. Hold prayers, and exchange views regarding the movement. I used to go there every year. However this time my residence was cordoned off and I was not allowed to step out of my house. This is just one example. Take election drama. If India believes in democracy then it should allow us to avail our right to canvass against casting votes because we politically believe so that this will lead us nowhere. However, we were recently barred fro going to people in Rafiabad and Pattan to contact people where a so called election dram was being played. Either we are arrested or our ways are blocked. We are not allowed to put our point of view in front of our own people. You will see no effect of confidence building measures, which are being pursued for the last two years in Occupied Kashmir. What you can see all is custodial killings, crackdowns and coercion, especially in rural areas where the Indian forces find no fear of getting exposed. Public is harassed & warned of dire consequences against attending our gatherings. India indeed is limiting our physical movement. There is no such thing as freedom of political activity in occupied Kashmir.
Q: What steps, you think, India should take improve situation in Occupied Kashmir?
Shabir Shah: Only smaller things, very small, indeed. What we are asking for is not a big deal. India government will not have to go into legislation in parliament to take measures that are required to improve situation in Kashmir so that process for the resolution of the ultimate issue can be initiated. Even opposition in New Delhi will not criticise the government for these steps. Our foremost demand is immediate release of political prisoners from Indian and Jammu Kashmir jails. Another demand is withdrawal of special powers act given to troops of regular Indian army and paramilitary forces’ personnel. Indian government should seriously move to stop custodial killings and trend of declaring innocent people missing after they are arrested. It should also bring it’s officers to account who have been involved for such human rights violations. Indian government should do so for creating an environment that is congenial to talks aimed at peace. War and talks do not go side by side India will need to take substantive & serious measures to make Kashmiris believe that it is serious about resolving the issue. Unfortunately nothing of that sort is visible here. A roundtable in recent past by India was but a joke. People who were invited to this roundtable were unknown to the Kashmiris. People of Kashmir are politically sensitive and conscious. Peace process can only be initiated when India gets ready to address the core issue. And involvement of Kashmiris is imperative to achieve perennial peace in the region. India will need to initiate meaningful and result oriented dialogue with Kashmiris and Pakistan.
Q: you just talked of Round Table. Another roundtable is being planned in Srinagar. What India intends to get out of it?
Shabir Shah: This is but a joke. The invitees include pro Indian stooges like congress, PDP and people form Panthers Party. Interestingly these people being represented by India herself. These people have played games with freedom and are. I don’t ask that I only can represent Kashmiris, but at least there should be people who consider Kashmir as a dispute, those who challenge accession. I repeat this is but a joke.
Q: Lack of unity is a big question mark when it comes to Kashmiri leadership. What do you say?
Shabir Shah: This is unfortunate. This is 2006 and we spent last year to on this issue. We realized that we should forget whatever misconception occurred among us and whatever bitterness prevailed. This is because we claim to be and are heirs to martyrs. We are representatives’ of orphans and widows, whose youth were martyred for the freedom. We should tolerate one another. We should co-exist and should not suspect one another’s intentions. One should not blame somebody on the basis of suspicions. This way we would be helping them unconsciously against whom we are struggling. We should take all of those on board who consider Kashmir as a dispute. Be they go for a solution through talks or through UN resolutions. Nevertheless, I am not disappointed at all. Mistakes do happen and we must help each other to ratify them. We will be together eventually, I am hopeful.
Q: Do you think that international community including US is taking interest in resolving Kashmir issue?
Shabir Shah: I think the international community is not playing its role as it should, however, I do appreciate the US president Bush for what he said about Kashmir in Asian Society Seminar prior to visiting India & Pakistan. Though he did not said so forcefully while in India. Anyway we want the European Union, US and China and even SAARC to play their role for establishing peace in the sub-continent. If they fail to do so, I think the current CBMs would fail to bring any good to this region. I believe Kashmiris would reach to their destination one day. We have give sacrifices of Hundreds of thousands of people for our right to self-determination. However international community should monitor the situation that who is trying to reach a solution and who is avoiding. International community should play its role because the two countries are nuclear powers and it should not let situation go to a desperate end.
Q: What in your opinion is the level of acceptance of proposals by president Musharraf among Kashmiris?
Shabir Shah: The people of Kashmir understand that Pakistan is the only country in the world that has continuously been supporting their struggle for their right to self-determination. Be it political level, diplomatic level or a case of moral support, Pakistan has always been on the back of Kashmiris. The people of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir have played the role of “Ansars” for us. We understand that Pakistan had to lose a part (East Pakistan) of it because of Kashmir. Kashmirs never suspect the intentions of Pakistan, its government and people. Pakistanis gave sacrifices with us. Kashmiris are taking the present flexibility by the Pakistani government positively. They believe in moving ahead with it but unfortunately India is obstinate and not showing any response. We pray for the integrity of Pakistan, we want to see safe and strong Pakistan. We believe a strong Pakistan is the source of safety for the Muslims of sub-continent.
Q: Do you think a practical and acceptable solution of Kashmir can be reached out of the paradigm of UN resolutions?
Shabir Shah: UN resolutions are the most appropriate option. You let people decide their own future and then every one is bound to accept it. It happened some years back in East Timore. India argues that the resolutions are not applicable now, we say if UN resolutions are applicable in Iraq, about Iran and in East Timore, then why not in Kashmir. Especially in the view that the two countries are nuclear powers and even US secretary of state recently said that “Kashmir was a flash point”. Nevertheless, if unfortunately world is saying that UN resolutions are not practicable, the Kashmiris are showing their willingness to resort to talks for the resolution of the issue. However the world should remember that there are three parties to the dispute with people of Kashmir on the forefront. So when all parties put forward their proposals on the talks table, then India and Pakistan should accept what would be acceptable to the people of Kashmir. All the parties should consider compulsions of one another. India should shun its shyness about talks and come to dialogue. It is a country of over 140 million people, and the population of Kashmir has also acceded 15 million individuals. Resolving this issue will help to improve relations among the two countries and benefit this large number of world population living in this region.
Q: Do you see any positive impact of present advancements on the life in Kashmir?
Shabir Shah: so for nothing. Atrocities are the order of the day in Occupied Kashmir. Youth are killed in fake encounters. So far we are not feeling any change. However I believe and am advocate of the notion that until and unless animosity of India and Pakistan does not reduce, and both the countries do not understand each other, there would be no advancement on Kashmir. Pakistan has done what it should have. Now it is New Delhi’s turn.
Q: Any thing else?
Shabir Shah: I would again say world community should see who is advancing towards a solution and who is receding. If India will take single step, we will come forward by ten because we have suffered a lot. But I firmly believe that we will be triumphant eventually. And Pakistan who has been our supporter all time will also bear fruit of its support. Let me say that India would also benefit from early resolution of Kashmir issue. Kashmir as become a graveyard of its economy. If India reaches any early solution it would benefit its public. Resolution of Kashmir issue would prove a great blessing for sub-continent.
 

 
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