Muzaffar Shah senior vice-president of ANC (Awami National Conference) happens to be one of the few leaders of Kashmir with an intellectual, political as well as social and moral point of view and field of action. A stalwart leader turning out to be a very responsive and active social activist fighting for the just cause of the common masses talks in an exclusive interview to Kashmir Media Watch Associate-Editor ( Muhammad Tauseef Mir) about his political course of action.
1:- ANC has been speaking much about the Intra-Kashmir peace Conference, an idea fluted by Late Shah Sahab way back in 1998, but nothing substantial has happened on ground in this regard till date, what reasons would you attribute to that?
We have been trying hard to the hilt and the edge to make our Intra-Kashmir Peace Conference a reality since its inception in 1998. But the response of the governments concerned has been annoying and dismal. I feel until and unless the gulf of mistrust between the governments of India and Pakistan respectively is not narrowed nothing substantial can happen in this regard. You could gauge it from the fact that we have tried it five times but every time the result was null and void, a fact attributed to the said mistrust. Now we are trying it for the sixth time in coming September and hopefully this time our endeavours might bear fruit as I have had many interactions with Prime-Ministers and the Home-Ministers of Pakistan and India and also the governments on both the sides of J&K. Even United Jihad Council Supremo Syed Salah-ud-Din called me personally on my cell to appreciate my endeavours.
2:- How do you contrast your Intra-Kashmir Peace Conference from other such ideas and initiatives taken by other political and social organisations, like the heart-to-heart talk by the Panthers party?
Well our Intra-Kashmir and the initiatives being talked of and undertaken by other people has a lot of difference because ours is a five region comprehensive summit, meaning that we will do it in five regions involving all the geographic and political zones of Jammu and Kashmir viz:- Kashmir, Jammu, Ladakh, Muzaffarabad and Gilgit & Baltistan and is going to involve the civil society at large who will be sitting at these five places and discussing about the issue in detail and its panacea, it’s a very marathonous exercise which will take place for more than four hundred(400) hours, unlike other such events where you assemble for the day talk about Kashmir, give discourses and emotional lectures, have a good time and gourmet and say good bye in the evening forgetting about the issue. So I feel it’s the only and most comprehensive plan and phenomenon of its kind.
3:- Sir one of the many such acts which deserves accolades was your filing of PIL on the innocent killings in Kashmir and the subsequent compensation due to their kith and kin, have you actually achieved some result out of it on the ground?
Telling frankly we have achieved nothing till date, but we are not giving up, we are pursuing the cause with utmost determination and grit and will continue to do so until we have achieved our desired ends. In the meanwhile we are with Bar- Association of J&K and simultaneously follow these cases with the human rights organisations at all the levels and Insha’allah we hope and pray that we are able to give some relief to the aggrieved families.
4:- Amira Kadal Constituency has been a stronghold of ANC since the past so many years, keeping that in view, what reasons does your good-self attribute to the dismal performance of ANC in 2008 assembly elections especially on the said seat?
All I want to say is that the elections were bogus and rigged, in this regard I have already asked the election commission of India to please tell me, that keeping the security scenario of J&K in view, how many votes can be polled in eight (8) hours? “I don’t think more than four hundred (400) votes can be polled even if the polling continues for ten (10) hours, and EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) are showing us 900, 1000, 1200 and similar figures which are beyond convention as well as expectation”. So I believe until and unless you have a neutral machinery which supervises the elections and machines other than the local officials of the state who work under the influence of the State Government no fair and transparent elections can take place.
Accordingly in this regard I gave a twelve (12) page petition to the election commission of India against the bogus and prejudiced elections and have also pinpointed the faults in EVMs and shown them how they could be manipulated and hacked even through cellular phones. Its only after I pointed the faults in EVMs, L.K. Advani raised the same issue that I had raised.
5:- Any special plans for 2014 general elections?
Yes, we are definitely on the job. There are two basic plans:1:- resolution of Kashmir imbroglio through our proposed Intra-Kashmir Conferences and any other such viable and time bound mechanism,2:- to put up J&K ANC as a political alternative in the state to National Conference, PDP and congress.
6:- How has your party performed in the recent local self government (LSG) elections so far?
As per my information we have approx. Four hundred and fifty three (453) candidates who have made it successfully to the posts of panchs and surpanchs. But, I personally feel that these people have won the elections on independent status, so they should remain independent and the political parties should not try to poach on them because that will be the source of corruption.
7:- You have started fighting tooth and nail against the corruption and eradication of public grievances, so can we expect Anna Hazare type of developmental wind in J&K by Muzaffar Shah?
Yes, definitely. You would see, it’s absolutely going to be like that and I invite the masses to join me in the run for a prosperous and better J&K.
8:- The flesh trade in Kashmir is on an all time high this time and is deteriorating the cultural and moral thread of Kashmir, so do you support Er. Hilal War’s idea of co-operative fight against it, irrespective of the political ideologies?
Yes, why not, I am in complete consonance to this idea and am always ready to join hands with anyone who stands to fight such evils of the society.
9:- ANC has been claiming that the real “autonomy document” lies with them, kindly enunciate that how is it different from the one people have been shown and told about?
It is an eighty page document and from alpha to omega it’s in legal language. In nitty gritty it tells us what were the laws applicable till 1953, what are they now.We presented it to NC in 1982 and, I have given the same to the GOI (government of India), the interlocutors and many more and it is one of the documents which is under discussion in all the fora of Government of India, but I still maintain that till date nothing has been done on that, but, we are hopeful that in the near future we are certainly going to see this document bear fruits Insha’allah.
10:- Your thoughts on accession?
Well nothing to talk about it now, we will talk about it in the Intra-Kashmir Peace Conference room, Insha’Allah.