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Let militants return home, Ex-PoK PM to India
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April 28, 2007 17:11 IST

Former prime minister of Pak-occupied Kashmir Sardar Abdul Qayyum on Saturday sought "safe passage" from the Indian government for militants operating in Jammu and Kashmir, saying they would be "accepted" there.

Qayyum also denied there were terrorist training camps in PoK.

"Maybe some belonging to the Lashkar-e-Tayiba school of thought are existing on that side (of Jammu and Kashmir). If they get safe passage, they might return home. We are ready to accept them. Instead of keeping the irritant there, it is better they are moved to this side," he said.

Giving a lecture on the 'Kashmir issue' at the Observer Research Foundation, Qayyum claimed that talks were on with the Indian side on the issue.

Defending the LeT militants operating in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, "All their camps have  been dismantled in Pakstian."

Qayyum said people-to-people contact between the two Kashmirs do not have to wait for "the solution", which has not yet been found in 60 long years.

Criticising the restrictions put by the two governments on the people on Kashmir, the former PoK prime minister said, "Heavens have not fallen really, by the Kashmiris meeting."

Expressing anguish at the plight of the families divided along the Line of Control, he said more points should be opened on the borders for the families to meet.

He praised the confidence building measures between the two countries and argued if people-to-people interaction picks up pace, the governments on both sides will eventually loosen their authoritarian grip on the Kashmiris.

Qayyum blamed "inhuman and senseless" restrictions for the poor occupancy of the Srinagar-Muzaffarbad bus.

"The problem is an unbelievable security process -- irrational and idiotic on their part. It has no sense, a totally senseless security system. It takes a lifetime to fill that form, if you have seen that form," he said and added, the 1955 system of the district magistrate granting travel permit was much simpler.

During the lecture, Qayyum repeatedly stressed there were no terrorist training camps operating in Pakistan and credited President Pervez Musharraf for "completely" dismantling them.

"The blame game must stop. President Musharraf should get credit for what he has done, because only he could do what has been done," he said, throwing an open invitation to the media to visit PoK and find for themselves.

Disagreeing with the definition of "terrorist" applied to the operatives in Kashmir, Qayyum said, "There indeed have been some acts of terror, which have been condemned by all."

The senior PoK leader conceded that there was some Talibanisation of Waziristan on Afghanistan border, but assured it would not spillover in the Kashmir-Kashmir conflict.

Referring to Musharraf's proposals on peace in Kashmir and the CBM, Qayyum defended India saying it would be wrong on the part of hardliners in the Pakistani-side to say India has not moved forward.

"I think India has responded quite adequately. But the problem with India and Pakistan is that if one party suggests something, the other rejects it thinking (accepting) it is a defeat," Qayyum pointed out.

"I have positive views about this. I think, given the difficulties they have to face, they have sufficiently responded," he added.

Jammu and Kashmir-based Panthers Party chief Bhim Singh, who arranged for the travel of former PoK politicians and administrators from the region, pressed for participation of Kashmiris in the peace dialogue. "The border can become irrelevant only if we are made relevant," Singh said.

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