Srinagar, November 10: Moderate separatist leader and former chairman of the Hurriyat Conference Maulvi Abbas Ansari on Friday announced that the group was ready to contest elections and advised militant commander Syed Salah-ud-Din not to interfere in the election process.
“We are ready for the elections. We are not afraid of anything, we are not afraid of defeat,” Ansari said.
Ansari, who headed separatist amalgam Hurriyat Conference before the present chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, took over, said the group was ready to contest the elections, albeit some conditions.
The separatist leader said the elections should be held under the supervision of the SAARC countries and that they should not be asked to take oath under the Indian or Pakistani constitutions. “We should not be asked to take an oath which says Kashmir is an integral part (of India) or Kashmir banega Pakistan (Kashmir will become Pakistan). That should not happen,” he said.
Ansari’s statement is a withdrawal from Hurriyat’s longstanding policy of delegitimising the election process in the state. Most of the Hurriyat leaders had last participated in the state elections in 1987 under the banner of Muslim United Front.
Ansari said if the 1987 elections had not have been rigged, they would have formed the government.
Ansari also defended the embattled panchayat members who have been threatened by Syed Salah-ud-Din.
“We cannot build roads and bridges for people, we cannot provide them electricity… I advise Salah-ud-Din that we should not interfere and if we do, we should build roads and provide electricity to people ourselves,” Ansari said.
(The Tribune, India)