Released after more than three months of captivity at Kot Bhalwal jail, Jammu and Kashmir National Front Chairman, Nayeem Khan, tells Junaid Nabi Bazaz that the new leadership in Pakistan must prioritize Kashmir issue in their talks with India.


KL: What do you say about the Sanaullah death?

 NK: It was a broad daylight, gruesome murder and the Indian government’s version that he had an argument before he was attacked is untrue. After Sarabjit’s death in Pakistani jail, an advisory was sent to the Kot Bhalwal jail by the state government that Pakistani prisoners should be segregated from hardened criminals which was only followed after Sanaullah was attacked.

 KL: With the new government taking over in Pakistan, do you have any expectations regarding the resolution of Kashmir issue?

 NK: Primarily, the new government should do two things. One, Pakistan should continue their longstanding unflinching support to Kashmir cause at moral and diplomatic level, like it was doing since 1947. Two, while talking to India, their first priority should be the Kashmir cause and not the offshoots of the dispute.

KL: You, Shabir Shah and Azam Inqilabi are not happy with the work culture of Hurriyat led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. All of you want to change this for a number of questions were raised many times in the past. What stops Mirwaiz to act on your suggestions?

 NK: Mirwaiz sahib is in a better position to answer your question.


KL: But you are a part of his party, what impedes him to act on your suggestions?

 NK: We want Hurriyat (M) to become a vibrant force and for that, we have sent suggestions to Mirwaiz sahib who has not acted upon them so far. The ball is now in his court.

KL: In 2003 when Hurriyat was divided into two groups for the first time, initially you joined Geelani sahib but after some time you left it and joined the moderate faction led by Mirwaiz Umar and now you are affiliated with none of them. Why this change of heart?

 NK: That time, there were differences on some fundamental issues which I wanted to solve within the Hurriyat. But it did not happen. So the Hurriyat split into two groups. I supported Geelani sahab whenever he was right and objected to him when I felt that he is wrong. I apply the same analogy to Mirwaiz sahab.

KL: What are those differences?

 NK: Their number is huge which I cannot tell you right now.

 KL: There exists disunity among various pro-freedom parties. Does it affect the Kashmir cause?

 NK: Yes. Disunity is not in the nation’s interest. It disinterests people about the movement and makes them weak. Our enemy uses it to score his own points.

 KL: The right to self determination can offer just two options; either India or Pakistan. In case Kashmiris get a chance to determine their future, which country would you like to join?

 NK: We cannot decide anything about it this time. My decision is not the personal one. It will be the decision of people of Kashmir.

 KL: Is there any way to bring an end to the conflict in Kashmir?

 NK: When India will be attacked militarily, diplomatically and politically simultaneously, the occupation will cease to exist. In this course of time, people have to remain steadfast, like they have been in the past.

KL: In your lectures and public speeches, you always tell people that you will never let them down, but at the end you do?

 NK: We have to live with hope because it sustains life. Yes, mistakes have happened from us as well as from the people. Both of us need to go in hindsight and correct the mistakes done in the past.

KL: When Abdul Gani Bhat spoke about the invalidity of UN resolutions regarding Kashmir issue last year, it was you who had to face the music and your membership was cancelled by Hurriyat. Why did it happen?

 NK: That is a tragedy and that is why I tell them to introspect and accept the hard realities.

 KL: After 2010 unrest, it seems people of Kashmir have lost their faith in pro-freedom leadership. Do you subscribe to these views?

 NK: It is just a perception of pro-India politicians who want to create confusion among the people. If they are true, then why don’t they go for the referendum? People are always with us.


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