Article 370 irrelevant to Kashmiris: Mirwaiz

APHC asks Nawaz, Modi to focus on Kashmir resolution

SRINAGAR – All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has said that the Hurriyat Conference is not against the friendly relationship between Pakistan and India but emphasis should be put on Kashmir resolution, Indian media reported on Monday.

About Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s invitation to Narendra Modi, he said that it was a good step that Pakistan and India were looking to build good relationships. “However, optics won’t change anything, pragmatic approach is required. No peace can be established without solving Kashmir issue in its proper political context,” he said.

Addressing a seminar at the APHC headquarters, he said that if the new Indian government of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would adopt a realistic approach on Kashmir, the Kashmiri leadership would follow the suit. “We will adopt ‘wait and watch’ policy and will closely monitor what measures BJP will take for Kashmir resolution,” he said.

“If they (BJP) would adopt realistic approach (on Kashmir), we will respond accordingly,” he said. He said that the Hurriyat would resist if the new rulers adopt communal ideology of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). “It is up to new rulers to decide how they think about Kashmir. The ball is in their court,” he said.

On BJP’s manifesto of abolishing Article 370 granting special status to the state, Mirwaiz said it was of least concern in the context of Kashmir issue. “Abrogation of Article 370 is our least concern. What is their left in Article 370 which can be protected? It is irrelevant to us. Our goal is self determination,” he said.

“If BJP talks for the development of India, they have to resolve Kashmir issue. More than 25 billion dollars of the Indian budget is being utilized on the military expenses in Kashmir,” he said, adding that villages like Amethi and Raebareli being run by stalwarts of Indian politics were still without electricity and water.

Reiterating their stand on the elections, the APHC chairman said that the elections of the Indian parliament were irrelevant in Kashmir and was a useless exercise. He said that these elections cannot be substitute to right to self-determination promised to the people of Jammu Kashmir.

Since, 1947, how many times Kashmir issue has been discussed in the Indian parliament, he questioned. “Elections are the spirit of democracy but in Jammu Kashmir where political and human rights of the people have been snatched, the polls are nothing but a drama,” he said.

Mirwaiz said that Jammu Kashmir was a internationally recognised dispute and tripartite dialogue on Kashmir was the only way forward to resolve it. In 1975, Mirwaiz Moulvi Muhammad Farooq introduced the term tripartite dialogue on Kashmir. “I urge the Indian government to resolve the Kashmir issue through tripartite talks between Pakistan, India and people of Kashmir,” he said.

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