‘Freeze talks with India till rights abuses end’

Salahuddin, who commands the Kashmir-based Hizbul Mujahideen, heaped scorn at the talks between Pakistan and India.


Munizae Jahangir July 24, 2010

KARACHI: Pakistan should not initiate any dialogue with India until and unless Delhi puts a complete stop to the human rights violations in Indian Kashmir by its state forces, demands Syed Salahuddin, the leader of the United Jihad Council, a united front for various militant organisations in Kashmir.

In an exclusive interview with Express 24/7, Salahuddin, who commands the Kashmir-based Hizbul Mujahideen (HuM), heaped scorn at the talks between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart  S M Krishna, saying that the issue was not a border dispute between the two countries that the two officials could discuss. Nor is it an internal security matter for India that they should simply talk to Kashmiri leaders Ali Gillani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said the Hizbul Mujahideen leader.

It is, he stressed, matter-of-factly, a collective matter of 13 million people of Kashmir. It is, he added, a matter of catering to the people’s aspirations as per the UN Security Council’s resolution of 1948.

With the violence in Indian Kashmir on the rise, Salahuddin, who gave the interview from an undisclosed location, said that he has been approached many times by the Indian government for talks and negotiations – declining to name the officials who approached him.

But, said Salahuddin, the freedom fighters are principled and ideological people and would not compromise the movement. Kashmir, he stressed, was the core issue.

He said that the political and Jihadi leaderships were in constant contact, no one was talking to or consulting with the governments of India or Pakistan.

Salahuddin also said that he would not enourage Huriyat leaders to talk to the Indian government, because, he continued, it was a futile exercise. “This,” said the HuM leader, “was the experience of 60 years.” The only was the freedom fighters would be willing to talk is if a meaningful solution can be arrived at.

Asked whether he was willing to put down his gun, given that there was a world-wide rejection of violence and a changed discourse regarding terrorism, Salahuddin replied in the negative.

The present scenario and situation, he said, has justified, and, in fact, magnified, the use of gun because “imperialist powers like India are not in a mood to resolve the problem peacefully.

But logically speaking, as far as peaceful means are concerned [they have] failed to resolve the problem.”

“The validity of [the] gun,” he said, “will prevail.”

Salahuddin also claimed that HuM was active again in Kashmir and was inflicting heavy losses on the Indian security forces. “We are practically involved and physically participate in the ongoing struggle.

We are hitting the occupation forces in the border area. During the last two months, you have witnessed so many of our target-oriented actions in Poonch sector, Odhampur and Baramula. Our target-oriented actions are going on.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2010.

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