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Pak lawyer calls for end to Kashmir insurgency

Srinagar, February 20, 2008:

A noted lawyer of Pakistan Abid Hussein Mantoo here Tuesday called for an end to Kashmir insurgency.

"The 60-year efforts for freedom have yielded nothing. Kashmiris now should seek other options," Mantoo said at an interactive session with Kashmir journalists, politicians and civil society members in Srinagar.

Claiming that modes of struggle have changed in the present scenario, Hussein said Kashmir should fight democratically for the liberation movement and shun the armed struggle.

"I think the circumstances changed after 9/11 in the entire world including South Asia. So Kashmiris also have to change," said Hussein, former president of Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association.

He said that the Kashmir movement should be sustained, constitutional and based on democracy. "Then only can peace prevail.

"Then there should be political pressure on India and Pakistan to solve the Kashmir dispute."

He said that the changing situation in the world has led to changing terminologies describing the liberation movements.

"The words describing liberation are losing connotation. Now nationalist fighters are called terrorists as has happened in Palestine. The role of gun is coming to an end," Mantoo said.

Mantoo who defended Democratic Liberation Party Chairman Hashim Qureshi in the 1971 Ganga plane hijack case in Pakistan courts was putting up as his guest in Srinagar.

Qureshi is considered close to New Delhi.

However the Kashmiri participants reacted angrily to Mantoo’s views.

One of the participants Hilal Ahmed War said, "Why are you asking us to look for other options. Which option do we've? Our struggle for freedom until 1989 was peaceful. We have fought both politically and militarily."

Mantoo said that the peace process between Indian and Pakistan will not be affected even though Pakistan President Parvez Musharraf backed PML-Q has been ousted out of power.

"There are strong institutions that are backing the peace process between the two countries. Musharraf is only a representative of the process," Hussein said.

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