Separatists irked by Zardari’s remark on Kashmir

March 2nd, 2008 - 4:14 pm ICT by admin  

Srinagar, March 2 (IANS) Kashmiri separatists have reacted angrily to Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s statement expressing readiness to set aside the Kashmir issue to focus on other aspects for improving relations with India. “Any delay in resolution of the Kashmir dispute will have serious ramifications not only for Kashmir but for South Asia,” said Abdul Gani Bhat, spokesperson of the moderate Hurriyat Conference.

“Zardari or any other person has to bear in mind that Kashmir poses a potential threat to nuclear peace in the entire South Asian region. The region’s survival is linked to the resolution of the long standing dispute,” he said.

Zardari, whose party is set to lead the country’s next government, had said the Kashmir issue should be set aside to focus on other aspects for improving relations with India.

“The idea is that we feel for Kashmir, the PPP has always felt for Kashmir. We have a strong Kashmir policy. We have always had one,” he said.

“But having said that, we don’t want to be hostage to that situation. That is a situation we can agree to disagree (on). Countries do, we have positions, you have positions. We can agree to disagree on everything,” Zardari said in a TV interview.

Reacting sharply to Zardari’s statement, pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik said: “Nobody will be allowed to overlook the sacrifices of Kashmiris.

“We are not against friendship between the two countries. But they cannot do so by suppressing the Kashmir dispute. It has to be resolved,” Malik said.

President Kashmir Bar Association Nazir Ahmed Ronga angered by Zardari’s statement said: “The statement shows the political immaturity of the PPP chief. It is an attempt to appease India and humiliate Kashmiris.

“Let us wait till the new government takes over in Pakistan. It would be a coalition and let us first see what the official stand of the new government would be once it is formed,” Shabir Ahmed Shah, chairman of the democratic freedom party (DFP), told IANS here.

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