Terming both India and Pakistan as occupying countries, Chairman of Democratic Liberation Party, Hashim Qureshi stated that the farce of bilateral talks has been going on for Six decades in the past only to keep Kashmiri nation in a state of suspense. If both countries leave respective parts of the State free, this could be the only lasting solution to vexed Kashmir problem.
Criticizing the Hurriyat leaders, he asserted that they are ignorant about the real meaning and implication of patriotism. By misleading the people they serve only self interests. Calling last year’s agitation as peoples’ movement, Hashim Qureshi said that Hurriyat leadership had made the movement a hostage to strike calls. “If we are to open our mouth and divulge the facts, the whole thing may end up in a catastrophe of sorts”, he claimed.
In a special interview with KNS, the Chairman said that Pakistan is an occupying country like India. As such, she cannot be the advocate of Kashmiri nation. If Pakistan was truly a sympathizer and advocate of Kashmiris, it would not have split Azad Kashmir into two parts. He said that on one hand Pakistan arbitrarily changed the constitution of Azad Kashmir and on the other hand she feigns to be a sympathizer of Kashmiris. In regard to Kashmir, Pakistan wants to assume the role of the judge, the jury and the hangman. She supports and props up those who serve her agenda in Kashmir.
Wishing success to Indo-Pak talks Hashim said that 10.5 million people of the two countries have been held hostage to a scenario of fear and trepidation emanating from prolonged Indo-Pak animosity. He wants the two countries resolve their differences and improve bilateral relations as that would lead to peace in the region.
On being asked why he was not invited to the meeting of Kashmir leaders with Pak Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani, Hashim said that he considered both India and Pakistan occupational countries in J&K. As such he would not expect to be invited to the talks. He added that only those separatist leaders were invited by Hina Rabbani Khar who are for Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan and whose all requirements are fulfilled by Pakistan. He added that Bharat is occupying one part of Kashmir and Pakistan the other part. Additionally, Pakistan has gifted a chunk of Kashmir territory to China. Qureshi said that he was only for freedom of Kashmir and not its accession. Even if Bharat is finished, still it will not let Kashmir become part of Pakistan, and in the same way Pakistan would not let Kashmir become a part of India. He reiterated that Pakistan should give up Azad Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan and India should give up Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh. This is the only honorable solution of Kashmir issue.
Responding to a question about the agitation in past years he said that it was people’s movement that was initiated by the people and the leadership followed the people. But later on Hurriyat leaders snatched it from the hands of the public and then made it a hostage to strike calls. He stated that in regard to Kulgam incident, silence was observed on its subtleties. Where those euphoric sentiments have evaporated, he asked.
He said that though local leadership is ignorant about the philosophy of patriotism, yet we the people of Kashmir have now become conscious and we can understand what is right and what is wrong. He reminded that during last year’s people’s movement he had opposed the strike calls and had suggested that instead of giving daily call for strike, it should be undertaken in a stage by stage manner and with propriety so that the future of our children was not jeopardized and our economic condition did not suffer drastically. Nobody listened to me. He continued that when the chief of the Muttahida Jihad Council, Sayyid Salahu’d-Din announced that daily call for strikes was unnecessary his images were set on fire.
Chairman of DLP said that call for strikes would not make either the Indian government or the State government acquiesce. Kashmiri people needed to be made to understand the meaning of freedom through the means of well organized and well managed seminars. He said it was the misfortune of our nation that it was being hoodwinked from both sides and the onus of that comes to the doorsteps of local leadership. One who speaks out the truth is charged with allegations of enemy agent. Hashim Qureshi said that if he opened his mouth, and made it known who gets what from where this would spell disaster for them. He said that intellectuals, lawyers and politicians in Kashmir are under a spell of fear and that is sheer bad luck of the nation.
Hashim said if the nation wants to know the whole truth then let us unite and demand accountability and this will show how much patriotic these people are. He questioned if it was right to speak of Pakistan that survived on the crumbs thrown by the US and claims to be the advocate of the interests of Kashmir just for self-aggrandizement and nothing more. Qureshi claimed that it was Pakistan that projected Kashmir issue as an issue between India and Pakistan and thus undercut its importance. Pakistan launched incursion on Kashmir and grabbed its one part while India managed accession with Maharaja Hari Singh. He said had Pakistan liberated Gilgit-Balatistan and Azad Kashmir like North Vietnam, India, long back, would have been forced to renounce her claim on its part of the State.
Appealing the Kashmiri nation, the chairman of Chairman of JK Democratic Liberation Party Hashim Qureshi said that they should first fix the direction of their aims and objectives and understand clearly what is the sum and substance of Kashmir issue. He was confident that after both parts of divided Kashmir were granted freedom, the United Kashmir would emerge a better and more prosperous country. The world would feel inclined towards it on beholding its vast water resources and natural beauty. He said the water of Kashmir was as rich as petrol which has the potential of vastly improving economic condition of the people of the State. They would no more be dependent on anybody. He asserted that both India and Pakistan were enjoying huge benefits from transacting our plentiful water resources and Kashmiris do not have even electricity for home consumption.
Commenting on heavy turnout of voters in recent Panchayat elections, Hashim Qureshi said that participation in elections is a way of improving daily life and this is for the general good of the people. He said countries that were slaves too would have elections like these. When the British were ruling over India elections were held by the rulers and many of our leaders at that time including those from Congress, Muslim League and others did take part in them. He said that it was not any crime to take part in elections if the objective was development and progress. In fact election was a step towards that end.
Before closing the interview Hashim Qureshi appealed the people to protect the forests and ensure ecological balance so that Kashmir did not lose her pristine natural beauty.