October 06, 2008 14:17 IST
Rejecting Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's statement that Kashmiri militants are terrorists, separatist leaders in the Kashmir Valley said he was 'ignorant about the sub-continent's history'. Former chairman of the moderate Hurriyat Conference and Shia leader Maulana Abbas Ansari termed Zardari's statement as irresponsible.
Dismissing Zardari's statement, mainstream Peoples' Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti said, "He is unaware about the ground situation in Kashmir."
The National Conference, however, preferred to go though the statement before any reaction.
Chairman of breakaway Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who did not hesitate to criticise the former President Parvez Musharraf for softening his stand on Kashmir issue, reacted sharply to Zardari's statement, in which he was quoted to have said that Kashmiri militants are terrorists and there was no threat to Pakistan from India.
He said until 1989, the Kashmir Valley people were peacefully fighting for their right to self determination since 1947, which did not get any response from the successive India governments despite the fact it (India) had accepted the United Nations resolutions passed on Kashmir issue.
"Kashmiris are not terrorists. They are freedom fighters," Geelani said, adding he wanted to remind the Pakistan president about the UN resolutions on Kashmir, which had been accepted by Pakistan.
He ridiculed his statement that India was never a threat to Pakistan. This, he said, shows how ignorant he was about the sub-continent's history.
He said the two neighbours had fought three wars since 1947 and it was due to India's intervention that Bangladesh, which was part of Pakistan, came into existence in 1971.
"Let him say what he want, as we have nothing to do with him and will continue our struggle," he underlined.
He said that Kashmiri youth, who were agitating for their right peacefully, were in fact forced to take up guns due to India's rigidity.