'Pak crisis could delay peace process'

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Srinagar, Nov 4: Terming the imposition of emergency in Pakistan as 'unfortunate', the separatist and mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir said the recent crisis in the neighbouring country could delay the Indo-Pak peace process.

The breakaway Hurriyat Conference (HC), led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani who has been always critical of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's Kashmir policy, termed the imposition of emergency in Pakistan as ''unfortunate'' for the people of that country and Jammu and Kashmir.

However, the All Party Hurriyat Conference (HC) headed by Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq, did not react to the developments in Pakistan.

Without naming the other faction of the HC, a spokesman of the amalgam Aiyaz Akbar said the recent happenings in Pakistan should serve as an eye opener for all those who have been supporting General Musharraf.

The people of Jammu and Kashmir cannot remain unaffected by the developments in Pakistan because of their emotional attachment with the people of that country, senior leader of the breakaway HC Mohammad Ashraf Sehrahi said.

State secretary of the Communist Party of India (M) Mohammad Yousuf Targami said the happenings in Pakistan will definitely have its impact on Kashmir as the peace process between India and Pakistan could get delayed now.

The new crisis in the neighbouring country was yet another set back to the peace process in the region, he added.

Mr Targami, a leader of the CPI(M) legislator party in the state Assembly, said the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who had suffered all these years, had great expectations with the ongoing peace process which could get delayed now.

Terming the imposition of emergency in Pakistan as ''shocking'', Leader of opposition in the Assembly Abdul Rahim Rather said the devlopments will affect the Indo-Pak peace process as Kashmir would not be a priority for Pakistan now.

The people of Jammu and Kashmir will were expecting that things would change for better soon but they will have to wait again now till normalcy restores in the neighbouring country.

Echoing similar sentiments, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Lt General (Retd) S K Sinha, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said the internal crisis in Pakistan would affect the peace process between the two neighbours. ''We always support a stable and strong Pakistan, which we believe will help to restore peace in the sub-continent,'' most Kashmiris, who were watching the developments in Pakistan on TV, said.

Ghulam Qadir, a former militant, said the reasons given by General Musharraf for imposing emergency were similar to what the people in Kashmir had been facing in the past 20 years.

It was a bold step to crush the militancy but at the same time efforts should be made to restore basic rights of the common people in that country, he added.

However, a trader Abdul Aziz and a teacher Ghulam Nabi said people in Kashmir always want to see a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan.

''We support the peace process between India and Pakistan and were expecting trade through Jehlum valley road,'' Abdul Aziz, a trader, said, adding that things may get delayed now because of recent crisis in the neighbouring nation.

UNI

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