Interview/Arif Qureshi /Islamabad
Zafar Akbar Baht is a former commander of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen who was part of ceasefire in 2000, Presently, he heads a political Party “The Jammu Kashmir Salvation Front”. He talks about the Kashmir conflict and way forward for possible solution of Kashmir dispute in this exclusive interview with “The Fortress”. Jammu Kashmir salvation movement chairman Zafar Akbar Baht in his interviews said that Kashmiris do not want war with India, Tripartite dialogue between Pakistan, India and Kashmiris is the only way forward to settle the decade old Kashmir dispute. Zafar Akbar differed with Syed Alid Shah Geelani and Asia Andrabi over ouster of Kashmir Committee chairman Maulana Fazla Rehman. He said Pakistan is a legitimate stakeholder of Kashmir dispute, and it has to do more to liberate its Jugular vein form Indian occupation.
Excerpts of that interview follow:
Q- How do you see the role of Pro-Freedom political camp, APHC, JRL regarding Kashmir struggle?
A-There are dozens of pro-freedom political parties some working under the umbrella of All Parties Huryiat conference (APHC) and some outside this camp, and Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) is a political forum of both factions of APHC and JKLF which was established after the martyrdom of Burhan Wani. No doubt despite a very minor differences all pro-freedom political parties in Kashmir are working hard to achieve target of right to self determination, but in my personal opinion, “division is disaster, neither APHC nor JRL, we need comprehensive strategy to achieve to achieve the goal in Kashmir”.
Division is disaster, Neither APHC nor JRL, We need a single leadership with comprehensive strategy to achieve the goal in Kashmir
Our rival India is very clever and cunning, look at them there are differences between Indian ruling Bahrti Janta Party (BJP) and Congress but over national issue like Kashmir and others they are united. so I personally believe that the division is disaster so all that we need is a unity among all the stake holder in Jammu and Kashmir.
Q- Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Asia Andrabi often demanded that Maulana Fazla Rehman should be removed from chairman ship of Kashmir Committee, do you agree with them?
No, absolutely no, I do not agree with Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM) chairperson Asiya Andrabi, they have a right to criticize and differ with Maulana Fazal Rehman, But I met with Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the Chairman of Parliament’s Special Committee on Kashmir several times during my visits toPakistan, I found him a very visionary and seasoned politician who is fully aware of the history and background of Kashmir Dispute.
I do not agree with Syed Ali Geelani and Asia Andrabi, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the Chairman of Parliament’s Special Committee on Kashmir, is a visionary and seasoned politician
During my present meeting with Maulan Fazla Rehman we discussed many ways and options to highlight the Kashmir issue at international level. I suggested Maulana Fazla Rehman that Kashmiris should be included in the Kashmir Committee to empower the forum and he agreed. we also demand Government of Pakistan that Kashmir Committee should be more empowered.
Q- Recently PDP chairperson Mehbooba Mufti stressed the need for Pak-India bilateral talks on Kashmir? how do you see her demand?
A- President of Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah are two sides of the same coin, Mehbooba Mufti’s recent demand for Pak-India bilateral talks on Kashmir is a another serial of drama which is staged by pro-Indian camp on the theater of Kashmir after some intervals, The Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is a faithful stooge for her masters in New Delhi and following Joseph Goebbels theory is distorting facts for the lust of power.
Mehbooba Mufti and Farooq Abdullah are two sides of the same coin, both are stooge of their masters in New Delhi
The puppet Chief Minister represents Indian army and is repeatedly telling lies to hoodwink world opinion. Did PDP and NC worked for the establishment of Indian’s draconian laws like Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA) , Terrorist And Disruptive Activities Act (TADA) and so-called Public safety Act(PSA), No they did not do anything in this regard.
I wanted to say there is difference of stance between pro-freedom and pro-Indian camp, She backed by its masters in New Delhi and thinks that Kashmir is a law and order problem, but we believe Kashmir is neither a law and order problem nor it can be resolved through military might.
Former prime minister’s Mian Nawaz Sharif stance at United Nations about Burhan Wani was a very bold and encouraging step
Our stance is clear like shy, that India had forcibly seized Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 with its military might and since then more than six lac Kashmiris have been mercilessly killed by the occupational forces. Kashmir is a long-pending dispute on the international forums and the world community has agreed to resolve it through giving the Kashmiri people their right to self-determination. We are facing bullets, pellets, being killed for past 70 years and as such are more in need of peace and libration.
Q- You said dialogue is the only way forward, then Why APHC and pro-freedom camp denied to meet with Dineshwar Sharma?
A-Yes indeed, I am a firm believer of Dialogue, tripartite talks between India, Pakistan and Kashmiri people. the war is destruction, Kashmiris do not want war with India, we have always advocated and supported sincere and productive dialogue between all three stakeholders of Kashmir dispute as it is the only way forward to resolve the conflict in Jammu and Kashmir.
War is destruction, we do not want war with India, but India have to show sincerity and flexibility to accept our basic demand that Jammu Kashmir is a dispute
Our stand on dialogue requires the basic acknowledgement that there is a dispute which has to be resolved. but It is up to India they have to show sincerity and flexibility to accept our basic demand that Jammu Kashmir is a dispute which has to be solved according to the United Nations resolutions. but unfortunately the successive Indian governments have continuously denied to accept this basic premise and the reality on the ground.
Q- Where do you see the fault? Do you think Pakistan should change its Kashmir policy?
A-Pakistan is a legitimate stakeholder of Kashmir dispute, we are thankful to Pakistan for their political, moral and diplomatic support but Kashmiris expect more from Pakistan. Former prime minister’s Mian Nawaz Sharif stance at United Nations about Burhan Wani was a very bold and encouraging step, After 9/11 the world has changed, India through its diplomatic mission across the globe tried to link indigenous movement of Kashmir with terrorism but failed. but sorry to say that Pakistan also failed to get the advantages created by Kashmiri nation after the martyrdom of Burhan Wani.
Pakistan is a legitimate stakeholder of Kashmir dispute, and it has to do more to liberate its Jugular vein form Indian occupation
The fault in my opinion is, If the responsibilities would be handed over to those who have no knowledge of Kashmir issue then you could not yield any positive results, Pakistan should have to overcome this as Pakistan claims that Kashmir is its jugular vein and to achieve this they have better strategy and to act more actively.
Q- How do you see the role of base camp (Azad Kashmir)? and Kashmiri Diaspora?
A-Unfortunately the people of Kashmir are not satisfied with the role of Base Camp, they expect more active role form their brethren in Azad Kashmir, there are also complaints about the looking after of Kashmiri refugees in Azad Kashmir. listen these are the affectess of freedom movement and they should be treated properly.
president of Azad Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan, Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan and speaker Shah Gulam Qadir, all assured us that they are fully award about their responsibilities and will remain standing on the back of their brothers till the goal to be achieved.
I met with the leadership of Azad Kashmir during my present tour including president of Azad Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan, Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan and speaker Shah Gulam Qadir, all assured us that they are fully award about their responsibilities and will remain standing on the back of their brothers till the goal to be achieved. President Sardar Masood Khan said, “Azad Kashmir is the base camp of Kashmir freedom of movement and we will continue play our role till the freedom of occupied Kashmir; people of Azad Kashmir stand together with the occupied Kashmiri brothers.”
we are proud of Kashmiri Diaspora they are struggling and fighting on many fronts, BUT Unfortunately the people of Kashmir are not satisfied with the role of Base Camp
As far as the kashmiri Diaspora is concerned, We are proud of Kashmiri Diaspora they are struggling and fighting on many fronts, not only they are highlighting the human rights violations by Indian forces in Kashmir but also defending the wrong propaganda of Indian strong lobbies at international level, all that needs is a better communications among the all stakeholders of Kashmir dispute.
Q- Are Kashmiri people satisfied with efforts of OIC over Kashmir?
Organization of Islamic countries (OIC) have created a contact group regarding Kashmir and we welcome OIC continued support to the people of Kashmir in their just struggle for realization of their right to self determination, and recently the OIC has taken a stern stand over the decision of US president Donald Trump to shift its diplomatic mission in Jerusalem.
Kashmiri people also expect same sorts of stand of OIC on Kashmir like Jerusalem, OIC must move beyond it and initiate diplomatic efforts on Kashmir as well
we think that the OIC should now use its diplomatic efforts and win over the European Union (EU) and other UN member states to declare East Jerusalem as capital of Palestine. “We, the people of Jammu and Kashmir, extend our full support to such a decision to declare East Jerusalem as capital of Palestine. But now OIC must move beyond it and initiate diplomatic efforts on Kashmir as well,” he maintained.
Not only Islamic world we want intervention of United States and United Kingdom to press India to settle Kashmir according to the United Nations resolutions
We welcome this move and kashmiri people also expect same sort of boldness from Islamic community. Not only Islamic world we want intervention of United States and United Kingdom to press India to settle Kashmir according to the United Nations resolutions.
Q- Kashmir is waiting for solution almost seven decades, during this period we saw many disputes like East Timor, Ireland and Sudan have been solved, why Kashmir is not being solved?
A-Kashmir is an international dispute on the agenda of United Nations waiting for solution since long and it has to be solve according to the United Nations resolutions through a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir. we welcome the solutions of east Timor, Sudan and Ireland in which international community and United Nations played their role, but unfortunately Kashmiris have been deprived from right to self determination according to the United Nations resolutions because India is a very big market for international community and they do not want to lose their economic interest.
Arif Qureshi is an editor Daily Online News Paper thefortress.com.pk, he can be reached at email@example.com