Pak journalists face criticism in Srinagar -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Pak journalists face criticism in Srinagar

SRINAGAR – Angry Pakistani journalists had difficulty in restraining themselves in a meeting with Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front leader Yasin Malik, when abuses, insinuations and questions marks on their credibility were thrown.

“You are prisoners in the valley and are only meeting those people that New Delhi wants you to meet. You have come with a brief from Pakistan which is hurting our sentiments. You are being feted by members of the government with the so called ‘healing touch’ and what we are seeing is Punjabi statecraft at work here”, were the views of Malik and other speakers he had called to speak.

Belittling the Pakistani leadership and calling them ‘pipsqueaks’ with little bombs, Pakistan was warned that if a solution was pushed down their throat they would revolt. “Please do not get manipulated”, was the common message of the JKLF. Clad in a black shirt and Pajama at his headquarters in the locality of Maisooma Yasin Malik appeared to be lost in his thoughts and while leaving told this correspondent,” please do not mind what we have said. You know we are in a conflict zone and people do not have very good mental health and we are highly charged”.

The young leader said that the Pakistani media was only hearing selected views. “The reality is that in 16 years 100,000 people have spilled their blood and there are 30,000 widows while the condition of the 90% people in the villages is unbelievable. Our women have been raped .You should meet these people as they are living in concentration camps in these villages; so bad is the enviornment”, he said.

Malik said that he has been out on a signature campaign and visited 3,000 villages where with the transparency he used in the method no-one could challenge the ID of the person who put down his signature. “All details of those who are signing is available “, he said.

He asked at what cost Pakistan and India were looking for peace. “After killing lakhs of Kashmiris you two states suddenly realise that you have common cultures. None has asked us about our thoughts on what the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service should be like”, he complained.

He warned that efforts were on to make Kashmiris migrant in their own country. Earlier Shabbir Shah of the Democratic Freedom Party warned that if the issue of Kashmir was not solved, the area was likely to once more become a nuclear flashpoint. He said nothing had changed for Kashmir despite the thaw in relations between India and Pakistan.

“This is not a religious but political issue and we want a political answer. Our demands have been met with bullets. When we came out of jails in 1995 we knocked on every door in India but in return you will see our graveyards but despite this we still want to talk”, he said.

Shah said that like Pakistan, India too should set up a Kashmir committee headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.” It will only be then that we will believe that India is serious. There is no reason that other APHC leaders will not agree to this”, he said.

Shah said that Pervez Musharraf had said that Kashmir was the real issue and Pakistan has highlighted this fact everywhere. “We want to participate in tripartite talks. We want everyone in Kashmir to participate in these talks. We want to ignore none as we have even told the Hindu pundits that the movement is incomplete without you. This is not a religious issue”, he said.

Shah said that these pundits had not left out of choice and gone elsewhere. “Though we have pleaded with them to return, the Indian government will not allow them to do so”, said Shah. He said that it was unfortunate that the APHC is divided. “This is the work of agencies and here the conditions of jails are worse than what you see in Iraq. But one thing is clear. The APHC is united on the future of Kashmir”, he added.

Shah said that he would not blame the fighters who have come here from Azad Kashmir to help them with their struggle. “Before ‘88 we did not even pick up a knife but once there was no political dialogue things changed. If such a process starts these fighters will return home. It is wrong to say that our movement has been hijacked by them”, he said.

He questioned the formulas for Kashmir and the bus service. “People of Kashmir on both sides should meet so that a proposal comes up from them. We are against passports and visas and there should be chits from local magistrates or UN observers posted”, said Shah.
Source: The News
Date:10/8/2004