Pak to observe February 5 as Kashmir Day

SRINAGAR, JAN 30: Pakistan is set to observe Kashmir Day on February 5 as a mark of protest against the “government of India’s reluctance to solve the burning issue”.

“‘We are organising Kashmir Day in Pakistan on February 5 and we will invite all political parties of Pakistan and will support the Kashmir cause’ — this is what Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told me over phone,” separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, on Wednesday said, while addressing the media in Srinagar.

Farooq spoke to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi over telephone on Tuesday (January 29). According to a statement issued by the Pakistani Foreign Office, the two talked about the Kashmir issue.

Qureshi said that his government was trying to highlight the “human rights violations” being perpetrated by India.

In response, India said the action reflected “duplicity” in Pakistani leadership’s intentions.

“We want a peaceful resolution to the Jammu and Kashmir issue and Pakistan is also willing to resolve it through peaceful dialogue,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq added.

The Kashmir issue should be seen as a political issue, and not a developmental one, he said.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said, “Kashmiris are upset because of the aggressive policies adopted by the Central government of India. They are responsible for pushing the Kashmiri youth towards militancy.”

On the main issue, the political dispute of Jammu and Kashmir, on which talks and deliberations should be held, “there was never any clarity on that”, he added. Stating that Singh’s statement was not based on fact, Mirwaiz said that the Hurriyat and Joint resistance Leadership (JRL) had stated on record that “we want to engage and we want to see a political solution to this problem and we have always maintained that we want to engage with both India and Pakistan”.

On the Centre’s special representative Dineshwar Sharma’s attempts at holding talks with the Hurriyat, Mirwaiz said, “This exercise is not going to yield anything because in the past also we have seen interlocutors and special representatives coming and giving their reports. All these reports have never been taken up by the Government of India.”

He hoped that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would revisit that policy but that never happened, and it was clear that the government wanted to use military might and suppress the voice of the people.

Mirwaiz cautioned that by completely isolating and trying to marginalise the political players, the Hurriyat and JRL, “what they have done is that they have left that space open. That vacuum has created a situation where people have lost hope of any political movement forward. Dialogue has become a word people have lost trust in.”

India has always maintained that the issue of Kashmir is bilateral and there can be no third party intervention in the matter. India has also emphasised that what happens in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter and Pakistan should stop interfering. (PTK)