Saturday, June 9, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Shabir’s terms for contesting poll
Tribune News Service

Jammu, June 8
When the People’s Conference Chairman, Mr Abdul Gani Lone, voiced his willingness to contest the Assembly poll provided it was held under the supervision of an international agency. He was echoing the sentiments of other Hurriyat Conference leaders besides the Chief of the democratic Freedom Party, Mr Shabir Ahmed Shah.

Mr Lone told his party workers that he and other Hurriyat leaders were willing to contest the Assembly elections to demonstrate that the APHC was genuine representative of the people of Kashmir provided these elections were held under the sole supervision of an international agency.

He also criticised Mr K.C. Pant for saying that the APHC has no representative character in the valley. In fact the Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, had announced that he would dissolve the Assembly and order early elections if the separatists, especially the APHC agreed to contest the elections. There was no taker from the separatist camp for the Chief Minister’s offer.

The Democratic Freedom Party Chief Mr Shabir Ahmed Shah had once stated that he was ready to contest the elections if they were held under the UN supervision. Months later he modified this statement saying he would participate in the poll provided it was conducted by a team of Indian intellectuals.

Even the former Chairman of the APHC, Maulvi Umar Farooq, had said that Assembly elections could be free and fair if these were held under the UN supervision. And that alone could motivate and encourage the APHC and other political groups to take part in the poll process.

Political leaders, who called on Mr K.C. Pant in Srinagar recently conveyed to him their fears that the Assembly poll may not be free and fair under the Farooq regime. These fears are endorsed by none other than the Peoples’ Democratic Party President, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Mr Mufti has gone to the extent of holding the National Conference government responsible for the rise of militancy in the state.

In support of this contention he has referred to the 1987 Assembly poll and said that since the elections were “rigged” disgruntled youth and those supporting, the then Muslim United Front sought assistance from Pakistan for sowing the seeds of insurgency in the Kashmir valley. Mr Mufti named Y. Shah who had been declared defeated from Amirakadal constituency in 1987 when he was “winning the poll.” And the same Shah later emerged as top militant leader and now is heading the United Jehad Council in Pakistan as Syed Salahuddin.

Whatever may be the arguments in favour or against the allegations of rigging in 1987 Assembly poll, separatists seem to be unsure of their success in case they participated in the next Assembly elections. Hence they put conditions which, in no case, can be acceptable to the Government of India.Back

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