The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Malik missive to Atal & Pervez

New Delhi/Srinagar, Dec. 31: Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik has appealed to Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pervez Musharraf to seize the chance to bring peace to South Asia by resolving the Kashmir problem. But he added that the efforts will come to naught unless Kashmiris are involved.

“I believe that both of you have firmly grasped the pressing need to initiate a peace process in Kashmir and have voiced statesman-like wisdom on this, the likes of which have seldom been heard from Indian and Pakistani leaders, and what is more, from two leaders sitting in the highest offices of India and Pakistan at the same time,” Malik wrote in an open letter to Vajpayee and Musharraf.

No meeting has been scheduled between the Prime Minister and the Pakistan President, but Malik is sure the leaders will sit down for talks.

“It is a matter of hope to me that I find in your respective public commitments a certain kindred urge for peace and a shared appreciation that a peace process on Kashmir will require statesman-like resolve and a new creativity.... I urge both of you to seize the opportunity to now translate your visionary words into visionary deeds,” the JKLF chief wrote.

As a goodwill gesture, Malik said his party would not call a general strike on the eve of the Saarc summit that opens in Islamabad on Sunday.

He reminded Vajpayee and Musharraf of their recent statements that peace in the region is essential. But Malik cautioned that Kashmiris have to be involved, if the peacemaking is to succeed.

“It is my firm belief that the principle of the inclusion of the people of Kashmir is the missing ingredient for a complete vision for a workable peace process. If a peace process is to be just and sustained, it must be accepted that Kashmir is not a territorial dispute: it is about the future and aspirations of living people in Kashmir. It is the reality of loss and injustice faced by the Kashmiri population and the very deep and real aspirations for freedom and justice that encompass the major substantive component of the Kashmir dispute,” he said.

“Being the real victims and subjects of this dispute, the Kashmiris have a rightful, necessary and constructive role to play in the peace process,” Malik added.

“No solution… will be lasting unless it is legitimate in the eyes of the people of Kashmir. Quite simply… the key to finding an agreeable middle-ground that will be a win-win solution for India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir is to involve the credible and legitimate representatives of the people of Kashmir in the peace process,” the JKLF chief said.

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