Giving a sudden and unexpected twist to the Kashmir dispute, All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said any future negotiations should involve China. For, it is a stakeholder in the dispute.
The leader of the Hurriyat’s moderate faction said while addressing the Friday congregation at Jamia mosque — where he is the chief priest —that he wanted to present this viewpoint to the Chinese government during his visit to the country after the Eid on November 28.
He said, “China definitely has a role in the Kashmir dispute. It is a great global and regional power and has a direct link to the dispute. It is definitely a stakeholder.”
The Mirwaiz’s statement has created quite a flutter in the Valley. While separatist leaders Shabir Shah and Yasin Malik refused to comment, the hard-line Hurriyat faction led by Syed Ali Geelani said, “We also believe in the pre-1947 Kashmir. So, once the final settlement is reached, China will have to listen to us.”
The main opposition, People’s Democratic Party, said, “The part occupied by China, however, is included in our self-rule document. We want to have amicable ties with people of that part of Kashmir as well.”
China occupies 3,800 sq km in Aksai Chin and 5,180 sq km in Karakoram range that was gifted by Pakistan for building a highway under the 1963 Sino-Pak friendship pact. Control of Aksai Chin is a major reason for border disputes of Sino-India.