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Hizb backs APHC stand on election

August 21, 2002

MUZAFFARABAD, Aug 20: Kashmir’s dominant fighter group, Hizbul Mujahideen, on Tuesday endorsed and appreciated the stand of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference regarding the “election drama after negotiations with India’s Kashmir committee.

“We fully endorse and applaud the rejection and boycott of the farcical elections in occupied Kashmir by the APHC chairman Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat after his meeting with the so-called Kashmir committee of the Indian government,” said Hizb supreme commander Syed Salahuddin.

“The stand of the Hurriyat is the voice of the Kashmiris and it also fully reflects the sentiments of the Jihadi forces,” Salahuddin told the powerful command council of his group here, according to a statement.

“The steadfastness and determination shown by the Prof Bhat in the most difficult circumstances is praiseworthy by all standards. It has boosted the morale of the Kashmiris and created a confidence among the Mujahideen that their sacrifices will not go vain,” he said.

Mr Salahuddin’s remarks were believed to give impression that there was complete harmony between the Mujahideen and the APHC on the issue of forthcoming elections. Early last month, the Hurriyat leaders were asked by the Muttahida Jihad Council, an alliance of the 15 Mujahideen groups, to launch an anti-poll campaign in occupied Kashmir, warning that otherwise they would lose the position of being representatives of the Kashmiris.

The Hizb leader reiterated that the Kashmiris armed struggle against India over the past 13 years was not aimed at getting power or internal autonomy but complete freedom from New Delhi’s yoke.

“We have offered 90,000 lives and the martyrs’ graveyards in every town of Kashmir give us message that we should not commit betrayal with their sacrifices and keep the goal of freedom always before us,” he said.

Mr Salahuddin also supported Prof Bhat’s stand that instead of holding polls in Kashmir, India should evolve a mechanism so that the Kashmiris could get their basic right.