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NC legislator on his meeting with Jamaat

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | June 28, 2003 05:29 IST

Abdul Rashid Shaheen, National Conference Member of Parliament, who was part of the group of parliamentarians and intellectuals who visited Pakistan from June 17-25, said he did not mince words while exchanging views with the Jamaat-e-Islami.

Jamaat is a fundamentalist organisation that has been supporting cross-border terrorism.

Speaking to Shaheen said he placed before the people of Pakistan the sufferings of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly those who are residing in the bordering districts of state like Baramulla from where he was elected to Parliament.

"We had a good interaction with all sections of people in Pakistan. During our two-hour conversation with the leaders of the Jamaat I told them that they were sending in Kalashnikovs, grenades and other deadly material from across the border that was killing the people of Kashmir," he said.

According to him, the people of Pakistan, like the people of India, want the iron curtain between the two nations to be demolished.

"The kind of welcome that we got during our stay in Pakistan was simply beyond our imagination. The people of Pakistan wanted to know why the links between the two nations are severed whenever there is a major incident," he said.

He claimed that he and seven other members of the parliamentary delegation forcefully placed the Indian point of view on Kashmir at different fora in Pakistan.

"Our visit had removed some misapprehensions from our mind about the rigidity of the people of that nation. I always thought that the Maulanas were ruling the roost. But after I have come back from there I have been telling people of India about the civil society that exists in Pakistan," he said.

Kuldip Nayar, who led the delegation, said that he was more than satisfied with the visit.

"My feeling is that the people of India and Pakistan are way ahead of their governments. Even a militant outfit like Jamaat is talking peace. The people of Pakistan want peace but the most important factor that could decide the course of the initiative taken by Prime Minister Vajpayee is the army of our neighbouring country. Pakistani army still wants to continue confrontation with India," he said.

Nayar said almost all the political parties of Pakistan expressed their earnest desire to have good neighbourly relations with India. "It is the bureaucrats of the two countries who have definite mindset and they do not let things to move forward," he added.

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