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"Peace at any cost was not our approach"

Friday 24 June 2005, by PURI*Luv

Hurriyat not sole representative of people of Jammu and Kashmir: Advani

Friendship with Pakistan can never be at the cost of national interest Present regime is direction-less in approach

LAKHANPUR: Bharatiya Janata Party president L.K. Advani on Thursday asserted that friendship with Pakistan could never be at the cost of the national interest and the unity of the country would never be allowed to be compromised at any cost. His party would never consider the All Parties Hurriyat Conference as the representative of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, he added.

Addressing a party rally here on the death anniversary of the Jan Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mukherjee who died in the State after his arrest by the State Government in 1953, Mr. Advani said: "The present regime is direction-less in approach. Peace at any cost was not the approach of our Government. There cannot be any compromise with local or foreign terrorists. Our Pakistan policy was two-pronged. First, there is no question of compromise with terrorism and the unity and integrity of the State is paramount. And peace cannot come at the cost of the national interest."

Mr. Advani lashed out at the Central Government for what he said was its decision to recognise the separatist Hurriyat as the "sole representative of the people of the State and direction-less policy." "Our party cannot consider the Hurriyat as the representative of [the] people of the State. Anybody having a basic understanding about the State would realise that the State comprises three distinct regions, namely, Jammu, the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. We do not consider the Hurriyat the representative of either of the regions. The dialogue has to include the people of Jammu, Ladakh and the Pandit community which migrated from the Kashmir Valley," he added.

On his recent Pakistan tour, Mr. Advani said: "I had discussed the issue of terrorism with Pakistan President Pervez Musharaff. I reminded him about his statement made in January 2004 when he had said that the soil of his country would never be allowed to be used to sponsor terrorism. I candidly told him that terrorist camps still exist in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and certainly this does not help to bring peace. I was frank enough to explain [to] him that history proves that whosoever sponsors terrorism becomes its own victim at some time in future." Mr. Advani who was Deputy Prime Minister in the Vajpayee regime, said that the dialogue with Pakistan was started only when Gen. Musharraf was prepared to give up his stand towards terrorism. He said: "When [the] Pakistan President came to Agra, he termed the terrorists freedom fighters. We took a stand that there is no need for compromise with him at that stage. Only when he changed his stand, were we prepared for talks with him."

Describing the symbolic importance of the day, Mr. Advani said: "Mr. Mukherjee was prophetic when he had said that every State of the country should have the same flag, same political system and same constitution. But by giving a separate flag, separate political system and separate Constitution, the issue of Jammu and Kashmir was made complicated due to which the entire country including [the] people of Jammu and Kashmir is paying [a] heavy price."

He blamed Jawaharlal Nehru for committing two historical blunders by giving separate status to the State of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and, secondly, by taking the issue of the State to the United Nations.

See online : The Hindu

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