LAHORE: Refusing to be part of the Kashmir Committee, the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) said on Saturday it would support “all steps the government takes for the liberation of Kashmir, but would not stop its agitation that is already under way.”

Speaking to Dawn, the party spokesman, Qaiser Sharif, explained that there would be slight change of emphasis now as far as the agitation drive launched against the soaring prices and capitulation to the IMF were concerned. “The Kashmir issue would now assume central place but both these issues would also be part of the drive,” he said.

All protests rallies, as planned earlier, would continue. The JI is rather planning a “Road Caravan” in September to protest against all three issues: Kashmir, price hike and slavery of the IMF. “Yesterday it protested in Jhelum and tomorrow (Sunday) it would be Narowal.”

These decisions, he said, were taken at a meeting of the JI senior leaders at Mansoora on Saturday. “The JI chief does not want to be part of the Kashmir Committee because all other members are government officials. However, the JI would support all efforts by the government on this issue,” he said.

The government, he said, had already conceded major demands of the JI. As announced by the foreign minister, the government would now create a separate Kashmir Desk at the ministry. It would set up Kashmir desks in its embassies in all major capitals of the world.

Moreover, the JI thinks that Pakistan should appoint a deputy foreign minister who should exclusively lobby for the liberation of Kashmir around the globe.

Meanwhile, the JI chief who went to the house of Shaheed Lance Naik Taimoor Aslam said the sacrifices rendered by the armed forces and people of Kashmir would soon bear fruit and the sun of freedom would rise in Kashmir. He offered fateha for the departed soul.

Speaking to the media, he urged the world to take notice of Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh’s threat. He warned the BJP government that millions of Pakistanis and Kashmiris were not afraid of New Delhi’s bluster and were ready to face every challenge posed by the enemy.

He reiterated his demand for the abolition of Simla Agreement, saying Islamabad must announce its disassociation with the mutual accord after its violation by India.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2019