Musharraf Told Hurriyat He Can’t Change LoC: Guv

SRINAGAR — Governor Satya Pal Malik has said that Hurriyat Conference was told by former Pakistan President Geneal Pervez Musharraf that India is a superpower and he cannot break India and “talk and negotiate agreements that would include free movement for both sides across the Line of Control.”

The claims were made by the government in an interview with Hindustan Times and here are the relevant excerpts. 

You have been the governor for over two months. Have you met any leader from the Hurriyat Conference? Do you consider them stakeholders?

The Hurriyat leaders must abandon Pakistan. They do have some influence but they don’t even go to the toilet without Pakistan’s permission. My appeal to the Hurriyat is to take an independent stand. I don’t consider Pakistan a stakeholder, rather, I’d say they are trouble makers. Let me clarify that it is not my mandate to meet the Hurriyat leaders but I will work towards creating the environment for an outreach. Let me tell you, (former Pakistan President Pervez) Musharraf had told Hurriyat leaders that India is a superpower and he cannot break India. He told them that he would not be able to change the Line (of Control). He had told them that neither India nor Pakistan can afford a war and that they should negotiate concessions for Kashmir.

This is a significant claim. Are you sure of the facts?

I am 100% sure. Important people have told me this. Musharraf told the Hurriyat to talk and negotiate agreements that would include free movement for both sides across the Line of Control. I believe the Hurriyat can play a role but they must abandon Pakistan first.

But do you consider the Hurriyat Conference a ‘stakeholder’ or, to use your words, a ‘trouble maker’?

We can talk to the Hurriyat also but the problem is that they are caught in a web. They are scared of Pakistan and they are also scared of the terrorists. They talk unreasonably.

One problem today is that more young locals are joining militancy. What is your plan to stop this? The low turnout in the local body polls only points to deep alienation.

My blueprint has already worked. I am trying to change the narrative and striving to make the youth feel that we are not at war with them. I am not asking the security forces to hunt them down, but if the terrorists engage security forces, they are not going to get bouquets in return for bullets. Not one youth has joined militancy in the two months since I took over. Earlier, at least five to six boys were joining their ranks. Stone pelting, too, has reduced. Of course, we had an unfortunate incident last week when an army jawan died after being hit by stones.

What about the killing of civilians. Would you condemn the death of the seven Kashmiris in Kulgam last week? Why was the encounter site not sanitised?

The killing of even one civilian is wrong. It is very difficult to sanitise rural locations. People should understand that they should not be rushing to encounter sites. Who do I blame for the 60 deaths on a railway track in Amritsar? The public should not be careless. We have now decided to place advertisements in newspapers asking people not to go near encounter sites for at least 48 hours. Kashmir’s political parties should also tell the boys to avoid encounter sites and stone pelting. Omar (Abdullah) and Madam (Mehbooba Mufti) have agreed with me on this privately but are not willing to say it openly. After the Kulgam deaths, they condemned us. They say something else in Delhi and something else in Srinagar.

Do you think it is time for some confidence-building measures aimed at the local population, like dilution of AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) in areas that don’t have militancy, or another ceasefire call?

You fire your weapons at us and throw stones at us. Only last week, an army jawan was killed. The army is doing a very difficult job. They are the same people who rescued locals during floods. They treat locals in medical camps and yet they are targeted. We can’t even have a discussion on AFSPA, leave alone diluting it.


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