Kashmiri politicians welcome Barack Obama’s statement

November 8th, 2010 - 10:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Srinagar, Nov 8 (IANS) Both mainstream and separatist Kashmiri politicians Monday welcomed US President Barack Obama’s description of Kashmir as a “long-standing dispute between India and Pakistan”.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told reporters in the winter capital Jammu that the US president must force Pakistan to crack down on terrorists.

“The US president must mount pressure on Pakistan to stamp out the source of terrorism of which the state of Jammu and Kashmir has been the worst victim during the last two decades,” he said.

Omar was among the select invitees at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s dinner for the Obamas in New Delhi Sunday evening.

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani said the US president’s reference to Kashmir as a long-standing dispute was the result of “sacrifices” made by the people of Kashmir for their political right to freedom.

“His admission of Jammu and Kashmir as a long-standing dispute between India and Pakistan is the result of the huge sacrifices made by the people here,” Geelani said here in a statement Monday.

“The statement is the result of the sacrifices of the Kashmiri people, especially of those 112 people who were killed here by the Indian security forces during the last four months.

“Now that the US has accepted Kashmir as a dispute, India should also give up parroting that Kashmir is an integral part.”

Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, the chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group, also welcomed Obama’s Kashmir reference.

“President Obama has stressed on India and Pakistan to resolve the long-standing dispute of Kashmir and more significantly, the US president has also not ruled out a US role in the resolution of this dispute.

“His statement vindicates our stand on Kashmir,” the Mirwaiz said.

Muhammad Yasin Malik, chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), said: “We welcome that the US president has accepted Kashmir as a long-standing dispute, but we appeal to Barack Obama to press for the inclusion of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the resolution of the dispute.”

Calling the Kashmir row a “long-standing dispute between India and Pakistan”, Obama said at Hyderabad House in New Delhi Monday that it was in the interest of both New Delhi and Islamabad to reduce tensions between them.

“The US cannot (provide) a solution to this problem,” he said, adding he had indicated to Manmohan Singh that “we are happy to play any role … that is appropriate to reduce their tensions”.

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