"I have no objection in mediating for peace," Bukhari told The Khaleej Times, a Dubai-based English daily on Saturday. "Let the government appoint me as an interlocutor to restore peace in Kashmir."
"I totally blame Pakistan for the problems in Jammu & Kashmir today and also the Inter-Services Intelligence for trying to disrupt peace and divide the Hindus and Muslims," he said.
The imam accused Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf of working at the ISI's behest, but said his regime would not be able to create trouble in Kashmir if the Indian government "bridges the gap and re-establishes trust between Hindus and Muslims".
He said there should be no forced election in Kashmir. "You have to win their [the Kashmiris'] hearts. You have to win Kashmir because it belongs to India and no one else."
Bukhari said he had been to Pakistan for talks with Musharraf and the ISI chief on the problems of Indian Muslims' and the issue of the ISI exploiting Indian Muslim youth to pursue its own agenda.
Commenting on the recent communal violence in Gujarat, he blamed both Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kischenchand Advani and said: "I want to tell the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh that Muslims are not going to be suppressed... if this [India] is their country it is ours as well."
But without referring to the Indian Union Muslim league, which has a few Members in Parliament, he said the community should have its own political party. "We are looking into the possibility of forming a political party of our own community," he said. "We have indications that the so-called secular forces like the Congress would not like us to do so as it would polarise the Muslim votes."
He hinted that in the next elections in Gujarat, "the Muslims may possibly refrain from voting for the first time".
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