LAHORE, April 22: Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yaseen Malik says his party will make efforts to get the Kashmir issue resolved on its own without help of anyone if Pakistan, India and other international stakeholders continue with showing their irresponsible behaviour to resolve it.

“We feel that the issue is being sidelined despite the fact freedom fighters have dropped their guns and started efforts to get the dispute resolved through peaceful protests,” Mr Malik said while talking to Dawn after a press conference here at Mansoora on Sunday.

He said India and other western countries were previously of the view to initiate serious efforts with the Kashmiri leadership if the Kashmiris struggling for freedom disarm themselves and start peaceful protests. “But it is very sad that the Indian government and the western countries did nothing to resolve the dispute despite the fact that Kashmiris fulfilled their demand.

Earlier speaking at a press conference, Mr Malik said status quo would neither be acceptable to Kashmiris nor such a policy could help resolve the issue peacefully.

Flanked by Jamaat-i-Islami chief Syed Munawar Hasan and other JI leaders at Mansoora, he said Kashmir was not brought into focus since start of the ongoing dialogue between Pakistan and India on various issues. “Now the Kashmiris have the impression that the issue is being frozen,” he said, adding that Pakistan and India should not hope for a lasting peace in the region without solution to the issue.

He said initially India had desired a peaceful atmosphere for beginning talks on the issue. Accordingly, the Kashmiris gave up their armed struggle and started a peaceful struggle. “At present, there is an ideal atmosphere for dialogue and both the governments should try to find out a peaceful solution to the issue.”

Mr Malik said since the Kashmiris gave up their armed struggle and began a peaceful movement, India started crushing the Kashmiris’ freedom movement by killing the peaceful protesters. “They (the Indian forces) are arresting the protesters and throwing them into torture cells. Do they want to push the peaceful protesting Kashmiris back to their previous armed struggle?”

He warned that if both the countries were unable to find a peaceful solution, the Kashmiris would be forced to begin the armed struggle again.

He said the successive Pakistan governments had been mentioning the Kashmir issue one way or the other but the present rulers in Islamabad were not even talking of the Kashmir issue. The Kashmir Committee should also discharge its duty accordingly, he said.

The JKLF leader said after the 9/11 terror attacks, the world community had decided to resolve the international issues through peaceful efforts. The Kashmiris also took up the path by opting for the peaceful process. The international community should also discharge its responsibility by giving due rights to people of Kashmir under democratic norms, he said.

Malik said he, personally, was in favour of a sovereign Kashmir. However, he said, the Kashmiris should be allowed to decide whether they wanted to join Pakistan or India or have a sovereign state.

Earlier speaking on the occasion JI Amir Syed Munawar Hasan said the Kashmiris were trying to protect Pakistan’s lifeline. He appealed to the political parties, the media, the Kashmir Committee and the government to focus on the issue once again so that the Kashmiris could get courage to give strength to their movement again. He said shift in Kashmir policy by the Pervez Musharraf government had done a great harm to the Kashmir cause and the present elected rulers were also toeing the Musharraf’s line. He said the Kashmir Committee was not independent and was working with no focus on the issue. “The Kashmir cause is not of the Kashmiris alone. They are fighting Pakistan’s war but the Pakistan government, political parties and even the media are ignoring the issue.”

He said the Kashmir Committee had also failed to highlight the issue at international level. JI Azad Kashmir chief Abdur Rashid Turabi, and other Jammat leaders were also present on the occasion.