Iran and China’s recent stand on Kashmir has spurred political lobbying among separatists groups that have decided to meet the ambassadors of the two countries and expressed willingness to visit Beijing and Tehran to put pressure on India to resolve the problem.
“Iran’s recent statement is encouraging. I plan to travel to New Delhi and meet Muslim ambassadors, including ambassador from Tehran. Iran is a major player like China in Asia. Both countries view Kashmir as a dispute and seem serious about its resolution,” Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told the Hindustan Times.
Iran in the past has desisted from any public pronouncement on Kashmir. Shelving of Iran-India gas pipeline and New Delhi’s proximity to the United States has Iran changing its stand on Kashmir.
"Today the major duties of the elite of the Islamic Ummah is to provide help to the Palestinian nation and the besieged people of Gaza, to sympathise and provide assistance to the nations of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Kashmir, to engage in struggle and resistance against the aggressions of the United States and the Zionist regime," said supreme Shia icon and Iran’s head priest Ayotollah Ali Khamenei message to Haj pilgrims.
Iran has on three occasions remarked supporting the 'struggle' in Kashmir since this year only, unlike in the past where very little coverage was given by Tehran-based channels and no public pronouncements made to avoid India’s chagrin. In October, however, Iran condemned security forces action against protesters in Jammu and Kashmir. India then banned beaming of Tehran-based news channel Press Tv in J-K. The channel has given prime time to the Kashmir unrest in the last five months and interviewed separatists in half-an-hour programmes.
“A visit to Iran and China’s embassies will strengthen our movement on diplomatic front. It will also help us garner more international support for the resolution of Kashmir issue,” said hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani in a statement.
Geelani, who is heading to New Delhi soon, is meeting the ambassadors of the two countries “to formulate a proper mechanism for a formal visit to the countries.”
China, of late, has not only started issuing stapled visa to the residents of Kashmir but also address it as dispute. Earlier, China would refer to Kashmir as bilateral dispute between India and Pakistan.
The Mirwaiz has already been invited by a Chinese NGO. “I have an invitation. I plan to visit to Iran too,” said the Mirwaiz, who did a course with an Iranian university in the past.
The Mirwaiz said he will also raise the issue of impingement of the state into religious affairs of Muslim-majority Kashmir. The Mirwaiz, who is also Kashmir head priest, was not allowed to pray on Eid recently and was for eight weeks stopped from offering Friday prayers.