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JK: Senior separatist leader lays down conditions for an united front

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
January 07, 2008 19:48 IST
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Shabir Shah, senior separatist leader and chairman of the Democratic Freedom Party, on Monday laid down some conditions before the DFP joins a front representing all the moderate separatist parties in Kashmir.

Shah was responding to the call for unity by Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Farooq, chairman of the moderate All Parties Hurriyat Conference. Farooq had asked all separatist parties to unite under the aegis of a common banner.

Addressing a press conference in Srinagar on Monday, Shah said, "Unity among separatist parties is the need of the hour, but such a unity must be meaningful and productive".

Shah believes that the solution of the Kashmir problem was not possible within the framework of the Indian constitution.

"Anything within the Indian constitution would not be acceptable to the people here," he emphasised.

He said he was ready to join the APHC group provided all its constituents agreed to dissolve their separatist identities and come together under one umbrella.

"The 1993 constitution of the Hurriyat Conference should be the guiding spirit for the proposed unity. This constitution envisages right of self-determination or tripartite dialogue between India, Pakistan and the people of Jammu and Kashmir to resolve the problem in line with the people's aspirations," he said.

Incidentally, Shah, once known as the `Nelson Mandela of Kashmir' for his prolonged incarceration, had parted ways with the APHC in 1998.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar