Says its participants were on payrolls; Mirwaiz also facing heat for sending his representative
Srinagar: The three-day Dubai conference which called for “cessation of hostilities” on all sides of the divided Jammu and Kashmir, has come under sharp criticism from Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahudin, who on Tuesday termed it as a “futile exercise” and dubbed its participants as “working on payrolls”. He, however, did not explain on whose payrolls they are.
The conference was hosted by British non-governmental organisation (NGO) Conciliation Resources, in collaboration with the Kashmir Initiative Group, from July 31 to August 2, 2017. The participants had urged that “cessation of hostilities be ensured on all sides”, while recommending that India and Pakistan return to the 2003 LoC ceasefire agreement. The 2003 agreement was signed between former Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and then Pakistan president General Parvez Musharraf.
In an interview to Pakistan-based stateviews.com on Tuesday, Salahudin said the conference was nothing but an exercise to grab money.
“Kashmiris are not sacrificing their lives for the trade of onions and potatoes, nor for the permanent division of Kashmir. Those who participated in the Dubai Conference are working on payrolls,” he said, adding, “Such conferences are futile exercises meant for monetary benefits.”
Salahudin, the chief of United Jehad Council, a grouping of Kashmiri militant outfits, said that he was displeased that participants who have been associated with pro-freedom movement maintained silence in the conference.
Among the participants from Kashmir were human rights activist Khurram Parvez, National Conference leader Nasir Aslam Wani, Congress leader GN Monga, and journalists Shujaat Bukhari, Iftikhar Gilani and Zahir-ud Din. The speakers from Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK) were: Convener of the Hurriyat (Mirwaiz) Syed Fiaz Naqshbandi, Speaker of Assembly Ghulam Qadir, and legislators Abdul Rashid Turabi and Irshad Mehmood. Pakistan’s former army general Assad Durani, India’s Air Vice-Marshal (retd) Kapil Kak, and BJP leader Vikram Randhawa were also participants and speakers at the conference.
“For the freedom of Kashmir, we can go to any extreme. When this conference was happening, funerals were being held in Kashmir and they (participants) were backstabbing the tehreek (movement),” Salahudin said.
The militant leadership, he said, was not against dialogue nor did it want to prolong the ongoing movement, but when “genocide of our youth is being carried out, how can we remain silent?”
“It is unfortunate and I am surprised at who had shut the mouth of participants? Who had given participants the right to pass resolution and issue statements against the movement?” Salahudin said.
Pakistani newspaper Awaaz-e-Kashmir had reported that the participants called for an “end to militancy” in the conference. But the NGO’s statement read “cessation of hostilities be ensured on all sides”.
It has been learnt that the Mirwaiz faction of the Hurriyat, which was represented at the conference, is being questioned by pro-freedom leaders for participation in the conference. During a meeting, the representatives of Hurriyat Conference asked Naqshbandi in which capacity he had participated as he should have take consent from the joint amalgam because of the current unity among the pro-freedom leadership.
It is presumed that Mirwaiz allowed his representative due to the NIA raids in Srinagar in which his aide Shahid-ul-Islam was arrested. The pro-freedom leaders are under pressure after the raids with the majority of Hurriyat leaders trying to maintain a low profile.
“Mirwaiz (must have) allowed his PaK representative, for he would not have gone on his own. This is a question mark on the joint resistance leadership, who claim to be united,” a Hurriyat Conference leader told Kashmir Reader.
Mirwaiz is part of the Joint Resistance Leadership, which was formed last year. Apart from Mirwaiz, it comprises Syed Ali Geelani and Mohammad Yasin Malik.