Excerpts from the
changing scenario, what role do you envisage the APHC playing?
We are favouring talks. Gone are the days of gun culture. The people
of Kashmir want a peaceful solution. We should build on our
friendship with Pakistan.
You have been meeting diplomats from many nations. Who all
did you meet?
We met officials from the US Embassy, United Kingdom, France,
Germany, Switzerland, Ireland and Pakistan.
What did you talk about?
Each nation recognises the importance of the region. The world knows
that India and Pakistan are nuclear powers. God forbid something
happens and nuclear weapons are used, it will be disastrous.
What will happen to south-east Asia? Keeping that in mind, the
envoys we met with talked about resolving the Kashmir issue and we
let them know our stand.
What is your stand?
We want peace and favour talks between India and Pakistan, and want
to be a part of the process. You cannot leave the people of Kashmir
out of the dialogue.
You had a discussion with the Kashmir Committee members at
MP Ram Jethmalani’s residence. What did you discuss?
We not only met them, we also met intellectuals and important
people. However, the common denominator is talks.
Don’t you think you are losing support of the parties? For
instance, Syed Ali Shah Geelani plans to float a new party due to
differences that have risen because of the People’s Conference
fielding dummy candidates during last year’s elections.
Let him (Geelani) set up his party. We are not bothered.
Those who go, we will call them too for the talks. When his party is
formed, we will definitely call him.
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairperson (JKLF) Yasin
Malik was in town when you were meeting diplomats and Kashmir
Committee members. Why was he not included in the delegation you
Malik was in town for other reasons. He has several court
cases and was busy attending to those. He did not have the time.
Not even in the evenings?
Why do you look at it in that way? We are not worried at all.
You are considered a moderate leader.
What is this moderate leader business? We are all for peace. Geelani
and Malik left self-determination a long time ago. Malik is equated
with Gandhian-peace. We are only talking of dialogue.
What do you want? To go with Pakistan or India?
(Irritated) You are making a mountain out of a mole-hill. I only
want dialogue. You guys (media) are responsible for the Kashmir
problem. To keep your shop running, you rake up unnecessary issues.
Have you given up the issue of self-determination?
(Angry) There are three parties. Pakistan, India and the 1.2 crore
people of Kashmir. Talks cannot be held in a vacuum. Look at their
You are a Shia, a minority in the APHC. It is dominated by
Sunni leaders. In Pakistan too, there seems to be a problem on that
I am first a Muslim, then a Shia. There is no domination in the APHC.
You have nothing better to talk about.
By an EXCLUSIVE
arrangement with MID DAY, Mumbai