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Hurriyat, separatists do not represent Kashmiries: Gilani

By Staff
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London, May 3 (UNI) Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Nazir Gilani has said the Hurriyat and other separatist groups do not represent the people of Jammu and Kashmir as the overwhelming participation of the people in the just concluded assembly byelections has completely marginalised them.

''These parties have no right to represent people in any peace process for achieving ever lasting solution to the issue,'' he said yesterday.

His remarks on the relevance of the separatist leaders came on the eve of second round of talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and moderate Hurriyat leaders in New Delhi.

Lauding the people of the valley for ignoring calls of the Hurriyat and separatist leaders to boycott the byelections, Mr Gilani said ''our leaders, barring a few, have been acting as stooges of Pakistan and often work against the interests of the people.'' The London-based Kashmiri leader, who is Secretary General of the Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights(JKCHR), said the elections, in which an unprecedented number of voters exercised their franchise, have shown that ''tables have turned in favour of free will.'' ''It took people a little longer to understand that taking part in the elections to elect their representatives is a basic human right,'' he said, adding that the byelection had proved separatists wrong.

He also criticised separatist leaders for ''scaring'' people away from the elections.

Mr Gilani said Pakistan always encouraged these leaders to pursue people to boycott the elections so as to advance ''its case'' The participation of people in the byelections had also shown that the gap between the Hurriyat and the people had widened, he added.

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