Quit-Kashmir cry echoes across LoC
OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
Srinagar, Oct. 3: A “Quit Kashmir movement” has been launched in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir too, echoing the four-month-old agitation on the Indian side of the Line of Control.
The campaign in PoK has been started by the pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) faction led by Amanullah Khan. It has had a low-key beginning since October 1 but is expected to intensify over the next three weeks.
The movement aims at “re-unification and complete independence” of the state, now divided by the LoC, said Touqeer Geelani, a spokesperson for the Amanullah faction.
The JKLF is the premier separatist group in both Kashmirs but is divided into factions, two of which are led by Amanullah and Yasin Malik. Both factions have units on both sides of the LoC, but Amanullah is based in Pakistan while Malik lives in Srinagar.
A meeting of the Amanullah faction’s central committee was held in Rawalpindi on September 30, says a statement issued last week by Touqeer. The meeting decided to “expand the Quit Kashmir movement to PoK and (Pakistan’s) northern areas, including Gilgit and Baltistan”, the statement said.
In Indian Kashmir, the four-month-old agitation has crippled life and left over 100 people dead, but it remains to be seen how much support the campaign can muster in PoK. The campaign in Indian Kashmir is led by pro-Pakistan Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who will oppose any such “movement” in PoK.
“The JKLF has decided to hold a series of protest demonstrations in Pakistan-occupied parts of Kashmir from September 30 and sit-in programmes from October 22 to 27 at different places close to the LoC to enlist support for a concerted movement,” Touqeer’s statement said.
It said public meetings would be held from October 1 to 20 at all district headquarters, colleges and university campuses in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan. “We will consolidate the otherwise suppressed national aspirations for re-unification and complete independence of the entire state,” Touqeer said.
“The JKLF will hold a ‘national integration restoration week’ from October 21 as a mark of protest against these invading foreign occupying forces in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, apparently referring to both Indian and Pakistani forces.
“On October 22, 1947, tribals supported by Pakistani forces entered Jammu and Kashmir to plunder and on October 27, 1947, the Indian forces arrived in Srinagar to occupy Jammu and Kashmir... with the result (that) the state was divided between India and Pakistan,” the statement added.
Amanullah’s daughter Asma is married to People’s Conference leader Sajjad Lone.
A leader of Malik’s faction said Amanullah’s campaign didn’t have his group’s support. “We stand for complete independence of both parts of Kashmir, but it is our prerogative when and where to start which campaign,” he said.