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Mirwaiz says peace process will go on

india Updated: Jan 14, 2007 15:29 IST
Arun Joshi

The juggernaut of peace process will move on, and all those opposing it would be rendered "irrelevant", All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told  Hindustan Times in Jammu on Sunday.

His comments came over hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani's shutdown call against Mirwaiz and his team's proposed visit to Pakistan next week.

This is for the first time that a faction has given such a call against the other showing that how driven is the separatist politics in Jammu and Kashmir.

Geelani has chosen January 17 as the day of protest against the Indo-Pak talks and talks between a section of Kashmiri leadership and India and Pakistan. His fear is that the whole process is going to lead towards the acceptance of the status quo, which when translated in the Kashmir context means-Line of Control becoming a sort of international border between the two parts of Jammu and Kashmir and some sort of autonomy for them.

The hardliner leader is unhappy, for he believes that the whole "struggle and sacrifice" of the people of Kashmir was being "compromised" for the status quo, against which the rebellion had started in Kashmir. He is asking for nothing short than self determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, which when decoded in his words, means Kashmir's accession with Pakistan based on the promise that this Muslim majority state would be voting for its future with Pakistan.

But, at the moment, he finds himself ploughing a lone furrow. Almost all international organisations, think tanks and even Islamabad have concluded that plebiscite was not possible, hence there was a need to look for an "out of the box solution"- soft borders, economic integration and respect for the political sovereignty of India and Pakistan over their respective territories of this Himalayan state.

Once a favourite of Pakistan establishment, Geelani is the only separatist voice to have opposed the dialogue process, which otherwise has caught imagination of several other sections of Kashmiri leadership and the people.

The Mirwaiz, who has emerged as the voice of the moderates and pusher of Kashmir peace process with India, Pakistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir, said that one thing is clear and certain that the dialogue process would move on.
"Those opposing it would be rendered irrelevant," he told HT. "I failed to make a sense of his outbursts against one and all."

This is a clear rebuff to Geelani who has put his reputation at stake by giving the strike call, amid the visible signs that some of the constituents of his own faction of the Hurriyat Conference have completely disassociated themselves from his line of thinking.

One such voice was that of a veteran separatist leader Azam Inqualiabi, who threw his weight behind the peace process at a press conference two days ago.
The moderate APHC chief refused to talk further on the subject saying, "we are committed to resolve the issue via dialogue process and want to pull out the people of the state of the quagmire in which they have been caught for years. We are committed to devote our time and energy in pursuing fruitful purposes."

The APHC leadership is in Jammu, talking to various sections of people, ahead of its Pakistan visit.

Email Arun Joshi: a_joshi957@rediffmail.com

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