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Press TV interivews Sayed Ali Shah Geelani on the Jammu-Kashmir dispute
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Chairman of Freedom Separatist Group Sayed Ali Shah Geelani
The Jammu-Kashmir area of (most north-western) region of South Asia has experienced an occupational tragedy since 1947.

As the people of Jammu-Kashmir struggle for independence from India, tens of thousands of people have been killed.

India's official position is that Kashmir is an integral part of India. Pakistan's official position is that Kashmir is a disputed territory whose final status must be determined by the people of Kashmir.

Press TV interviewed prominent political leader Sayed Ali Shah Geelani on September 1, 2010 regarding the dispute. Sayed Geelani is the Chairman of Freedom Separatist Group, Chairman of All Parties Hurriyat (freedom) Conference and is the senior leader amongst the separatists of Jammu-Kashmir. Sayed Geelani has been frequently imprisoned for his position.

Press TV: Kashmir is an internationally known dispute.
And its resolution matters a lot for peace in the south-east sub-continent and for the world at large. I just want to ask you that at this particular moment when tens of thousands civilians mostly have been killed in Kashmir. What is your role for the people of Kashmir and for the issue itself?

Geelani: Jammu and Kashmir is an international dispute. The Indian occupation is a forced occupation. People are fighting against this forced occupation since 1947. If we count the sacrifices of the people of Jammu-Kashmir, which are a lot of sacrifices the people of Jammu-Kashmir have made, and consider their basic rights and self-determination since 1947.

In October of 1947 in Jammu province about five lakh people were massacred by the Indian forces and Dogra forces. One million people have been forced to migrate from their houses, towns and cities to Pakistan. And while the sacrifices of the people are going on, unfortunately India is suffering from an arrogance of power.

They have an expansionism, which is part of their policy. And their attitude as far as the Kashmir dispute and the people of Kashmir is concerned, is a very imperialistic attitude. So during these many sacrifices the people of Jammu-Kashmir are yet very far away from achieving their rights to self-determination.

As far as my role is concerned, I'm in a two-part role regarding Jammu-Kashmir and their people since 1962. I was firstly arrested on 28th of August 1962 and I was in jail for 13 months. After that I have been working very closely with the people, and I'm trying to represent the sentiment of the people of Jammu-Kashmir sincerely and very honestly, and without any hesitation or any compromising attitude. So my role is very much known and people are opposing extremely against my guidance; however, I'm guiding the people for achieving their natural right of self-determination by peaceful means, and without any compromising attitude and people are following as far as well guidance is concerned.

Press TV:So how successful have these decades been as far as Kashmir moving towards a resolution?

Geelani: You must try to understand that much depends upon India's attitude, India's policy and India's accepting the hard reality that Jammu-Kashmir is not a integral part of India and it's a disputed territory and they must try to understand. They must accept the hard reality that Jammu-Kashmir is not India. We will give the people right to self-determination so they can decide in the future if they want to be a part of India or migrate to Pakistan or any other solution which will become suitable for them. These commitments are not going to fulfill.

This is also a historical fact that the Indian government remember that they have taken the case to United Nations Security Council, and they are telling us that Jammu-Kashmir is part of India and Pakistan should be told to withdraw from this area and from this land. However, when the discussion took place in the United Nations Security Council, they didn't accept the claim of India. They declared that Jammu-Kashmir is not an integral part of India and neither Pakistan until the people of the area will decide their future according to their wishes.

The first resolution was passed on the 21st of April, 1948. In that resolution the Jammu-Kashmir situation was accepted as a dispute. India and Pakistan was present to the United Nationals Security Council's resolutions which were passed, and the world communities are witness to those resolutions. So the people of Jammu-Kashmir are demanding that those resolutions should be implemented which India has signed and admitted. This is a very general and simple demand. India should accept this and India should come forward to cooperate and support the implementation of these resolutions, but unfortunately, as I have told you, India is using their military power to forcibly occupy this land of Jammu-Kashmir.

So as far as achievements are concerned, this all depends on India's attitude. And this depends also upon the United Nations Security Council and mostly the world powers and world opinions should become fair in the oppression of the Jammu-Kashmir, but to this juncture there are political, social and other complications and the world community is not opening their eyes to the oppression in Jammu-Kashmir. So this is the main cause and main object in the way to achieve the people's right to self-determination and to get the freedom from Indian forcibly occupation.

Press TV: You are one of the most favorite pro-independence leaders in Kashmir. How do you define India regarding the situation of Kashmir?

Geelani: India is a very forcible occupation and they are trying to get the land. They are not having any sympathy with the majority of the people of Jammu-Kashmir. The majority of the people of Jammu-Kashmir are Muslims. There is not sympathy or any interest in this majority population of Jammu-Kashmir. They only have their own sympathies with themselves and the land; the beauty of Jammu-Kashmir. They want to have this beautiful land on the basis of guns; on the basis of military power. It is on the basis of arrogance of power.
You see a population of more than 100 million, and they are not having any human sympathy as they are not concerned. They are using brutal force to crush the hope of the people of Jammu-Kashmir. I have been witnessing the whole situation; what has been happening since 1947 up until today. So India's attitude is undemocratic, inhuman, immoral, and based on the force of gun.

Press TV:India has time and again invited for independent politicians of Kashmir. What has prevented you from joining them?

Geelani: I will tell you that we are not against the talks. The situation should very much be tried to understand and we can try again as for as the talks are concerned. But talks have failed since 1952. The 23rd of March in 1952 the dialogue process had started between India and Pakistan. So many conferences and so many dialogues have taken place in the name of organizations but nothing has come out. The basic cause is that India is not accepting the disputed nature of Jammu-Kashmir.

One position is that they are saying we are ready for talks and are participating in talks directly or indirectly but in another way they are declaring Jammu-Kashmir is an integral part of India and no power on earth can take Jammu-Kashmir from the clutches of Indian forces. So in this situation, nothing is coming out of the dialogue process. Pakistan is talking with India and nothing has come out when the dialogue processes take place. The leaders have also participated in dialogue processes and the basic point is no positive conclusions or actions are coming out of the dialogue process. Because the reality is that India has not accepted that Jammu-Kashmir is a disputed territory and we are giving a pledge to help the people of Jammu-Kashmir. We are morally bound to fulfill these commitments.

They have admittedly signed the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and it's a moral obligation for them to come forward and operate for the implementation of these resolutions. Then the people can decide their future. If the dialogue process will be arranged in a manner that India accepts the disputed nature of Jammu-Kashmir, they should therefore start for the withdrawal of Indian occupational forces. They should withdraw all the laws in which they have imposed on Jammu-Kashmir. They should release all the people whom have been incarcerated in all the different jails in India and Jammu-Kashmir also.

So when these basic conditions will be fulfilled a dialogue process would be able to take place. The dialogue process should not be violated in India or by the Kashmiri leadership, or India and Pakistan. The dialogue process should be started on a tripod type level. All the parties of India, Pakistan and the people of Jammu-Kashmir, which is the real sentiment of the people of Jammu-Kashmir, should participate.

All of these parties should sit around the table and take the historical background of Jammu-Kashmir into consideration and consider the sacrifices of the people of Jammu-Kashmir, and their basic rights of self-determinations should be considered. Then all the concerned three parties should discuss the resolution. Then in that dialogue process we have deferred that we will not accept any solution from the Indian constitution. So when these basic needs have been fulfilled, dialogue processes can take place and we will have no hesitation to participate in the dialogue process.

Press TV:I just want to ask that once again. This year there was a large protest and thousands of people took to the streets protesting against alleged abuses against human rights and civilian killings. And again there was an invitation from the Prime Minister of India. What happened to that initiative and I just wanted to ask you what do you think about that and if India is not sincerely ready to put an end to this dispute?

Geelani Are you forgetting that India's Prime Minister on the 15th of August declared that Jammu-Kashmir is part of India. He also said that Jammu-Kashmir is a very unique problem and we must try to have a unique solution. But he was only playing with words. There is no sincerity whenever India's Prime Minister or home minister is declaring that we are ready for dialogue and they are inviting the people. They are not invited as they are representative of the people of Jammu-Kashmir. They are taking the dialogue with other parties and their own persons. They are not invited properly and officially. If those people who are representing the sentiment of the people of Jammu-Kashmir are invited properly and officially, then these conditions will be taken into consideration. Until these basic needs will be fulfilled, there will not be any positive results from the dialogue process.

Press TV: President Musharraf said in an interview that Pakistan is willing to go beyond UN resolutions, which is a major shift in the policy of Pakistan. How do you view this?

Geelani: You see you must try to read the history as far as Pakistan is concerned. Pakistan is a basic party of the dispute. Because on the 25 of July 1947 the guidelines were given to the people and those there were areas not directly under British control. They were indirectly under British control. Those states were near about 600 states and they were under the guidelines that you are free to join Pakistan or India or to be independent but you have to take into consideration three basic points.

The first point is you have to see the boundaries from which it is all connected. Secondly you have to see the population if there is a Muslim majority or a Hindu majority. You have to take these things into consideration. And thirdly you have to take into consideration the religious and cultural affiliations of the people in which dominion they are residing. So according to these three guidelines, when you read the history, one area declared independence but they were not allowed by the Indian government. The Indian government took action and
they established the argument that the boundaries are not connected with any other country except India, so you cannot be independent. If these guidelines are used they could have been applied to the Jammu-Kashmir concern. There was no question of Indian occupation. 750 miles of boundaries of Jammu-Kashmir are connected with Pakistan, and in 1947, 85 percent Muslim population was in Jammu-Kashmir and all the religious and cultural affiliations of Jammu-Kashmir were in Pakistan.

So India's policies are deceiving the people to get benefit. They will take the line in which they will benefit. That line when they see that it's taken to this line and there are no benefits; thus, they will change at that moment. The double standards of India and most insincere attitudes of India, and the barbaric and imperialistic attitudes of India is the main cause that the Jammu-Kashmir conflict has not been resolved in 63 years according to its historical background.

Press TV: I just want to ask you Sir, keeping in consideration the political scenario of India and Pakistan, and also the situation in Kashmir, just tell us what is the solution to the Kashmir problem; a solution that will be good for India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir?

Geelani The only solution is we are not in favor of dividing up the region of Jammu-Kashmir into parts on the basis of geography and the basis of religion; no not at all. We are for unity of Jammu-Kashmir and we want the population of Jammu-Kashmir, whether they are Muslims or Christians, or Buddhists or Sikhs, or Hindus or Dogras.

They should take into consideration the graphical unity of Jammu-Kashmir, which should be maintained and preserved at any cost. The only solution by which the whole population of Jammu-Kashmir would remain together (13 million), whether they are residing in this town or that town, all this population, the entire population of 13 million should decide their future according to the United Nations Security Council. Time and again we have declared that if the majority decides to be with India, we will not be glad to accept this situation but we will. We will accept the division of the majority and be a part of India if it's democratic. But if the majority wants to join with Pakistan, then India and the whole international community respecting the democratic norms should also accept the division of the majority.

Press TV:I just want to ask you that a recent survey by a British academy revealed that the majority of people in Kashmir want independence. There are many asking: Do you want to merge with Pakistan or want independence?

Geelani: At this juncture we are not indulging in these ideologies. At this juncture we want only that India withdraw from the Jammu-Kashmir area because they are occupying forces and we are demanding that the occupation should end. This is the main objective for which we are struggling and why people are giving their precious lives. We are very much damaged in the forcibly occupation of India. There is so much land under the occupation of Indian forces. They are exploiting our resources, culture, religion, dignity and honor. So all of these things we are facing are very painful because of the occupation of Indian forces. So at this juncture we are not indulging in these differences: whether we want to join Pakistan, whether we want to be in India or independent. Our main objectives at this juncture are to get freedom from Indian forced occupation.

Press TV: But it is said time and again that you are favoring a merger of Kashmir with Pakistan because of religious affiliation and geographical affiliation.

Geelani:We will decide it when we get freedom from the forced Indian occupation at that juncture. We will sit together and decide what we have to do. At this juncture and the sentiment of the majority of the people of Jammu-Kashmir is firstly to get the freedom from Indian forced occupation. After that we will decide what we have to do.

Press TV:Most of the people are of the opinion that pro-independence politicians in Kashmir lack unity. When can people of Kashmir and the world see united pro-independence leaders and united pro-independence parties heading towards a particular and a common goal?

Geelani:All parties at the political conferences demanded at that juncture that we should be given the right of self-determination but can you say that India has done such? So at this juncture we are leading the present moment. Leaders are supporting our program; nobody is objecting our program as far as leaders are concerned. Why don't you take into consideration that the people are following some program?

Press TVKeeping in consideration the present situation of Kashmir, what is the future prospective of Kashmir?

Geelani: As far as future prospects are concerned, I will assure you by God's will we will get the freedom from Indian forcibly occupation and I'm 100 percent sure in this aspect.

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