MUZAFFARABAD, Nov 17: A multi-party alliance fighting Indian rule in Kashmir rejected on Wednesday the economic package offered by Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh during his visit to Srinagar and asked him to instead concede the Kashmiris what they were struggling and fighting for since 1947.
"Instead of conceding Kashmiris their internationally acknowledged right to self-determination, Dr Singh has attempted to prolong their subjugation by offering a so-called economic package. But let it be clear that our struggle is not aimed at getting any fiscal gains but for the freedom from Indian yoke," said Syed Salahuddin, United Jihad Council Chairman.
The guerrilla leader recalled that two years back then Indian premier Atal Behari Vajpayee had offered a $1.3 billion dollar development package but that had also failed to change the mind of the freedom seeking Kashmiris.
"I wonder why Dr Singh forgot that before him successive Indian leaders had failed in winning over the Kashmiris with the so-called financial or developmental packages or internal autonomy offers."
"Every single man, woman and child of Kashmir has full realization of freedom and none could withdraw from it even if offered fortunes of the whole world," he said.
Mr Salahuddin said if Dr Singh really wanted to make effort "to reach out to the minds and hearts of the Kashmiris" then he should honour the commitment which the first Indian prime minister (late Jawaharlal Nehru) from his Congress party had repeatedly made to the people of the state.
Mr Salahuddin, who also heads Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest constituent of the alliance, said the "crippling strike on the arrival of Indian prime minister in Kashmir should serve as an 'eye-opener' for Dr Singh.
"I congratulate the people of Kashmir for their valour and bravery with which they have observed an unprecedented strike to make it clear to Dr Singh that what they are struggling and fighting for," he said.
Referring to Indian prime minister's "commitment to unconditional dialogue with anyone and everyone in the state who abjures violence," he said Kashmir was neither internal matter of India nor a border dispute with any other country.
"It is an issue of right to self-determination of over 120 million people. Bilateral talks either between India and Pakistan or between India and the Kashmiris cannot resolve it. Those must be tripartite with all the three parties at the negotiating table," he said.