11 February 2000
Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee
Prime Minister of India
Dear Mr Vajpayee
You will recall that on 11 February 1984, a Kashmiri freedom fighter and leader of the independence movement, Maqbool Butt, was judicially murdered by the then government of India. Those at the helm of affairs at that time must have thought that his death would also bury the Kashmiri freedom movement. They were, indeed, wrong. His martyrdom gave a new lease of life to the freedom struggle.
The present armed struggle, which was started by the JKLF to achieve unification and independence of the State, has entered a new phase. If your government is hoping that with time the freedom struggle is going to fizzle out, then you are mistaken. We wish to reiterate our determination on this memorable day that we will continue our just fight at all costs until we win unification and independence of the State.
Respective Indian governments have tried their level best to crush our freedom movement. Your armed forces have killed innocent people, raped women, maimed, looted, burnt houses, custodial deaths, in fact, they have tried and tested every torture and cruelty anyone can think of, and yet they have failed to achieve their objective. The Kashmiri peoples spirit on both sides of the border is as alive as it was ten years ago, if anything, with the passage of time our will to see our nation free and independent has become stronger. On behalf of the Kashmiri people in general and the JKLF in particular, we want to say the following:
1. Our struggle is for unification and independence of the State, and division of any kind would not be acceptable to us
2. India and Pakistan DO NOT have any legal, constitutional or moral right to decide the future of the Kashmiri people; only the Kashmiri people are entitled to take this decision
3. Kashmir belongs to the Kashmiri people, and we are the main party to the dispute, India and Pakistan are parties only because of their de-facto control and occupation of the Kashmiri territory. Therefore any decision taken by them bilaterally would not be accepted by the Kashmiris, as has happened with the Simla and Tashkent Agreements
4. The process of negotiations has resolved other disputes in the world, as it is widely believed that use of force is not the best way to solve problems. The same is true for South Asia. The Kashmir issue can be resolved through a process of negotiations, provided all three parties to the dispute sit together and make a sincere effort to find a solution
5. If the Kashmir issue is not resolved according to the declared wishes of the Kashmiri people there could never be peace in the region. So it is imperative that a new initiative is taken to resolve the dispute that people of South Asia can enjoy peace, stability and prosperity.
We wish to further state that:
· All the Kashmiri leaders, including the chairman of the JKLF Yasin Malik who were arrested after their successful boycott of the parliamentary election and lodged in Jodhpur jail must be released immediately and unconditionally.
· All Kashmiri political prisoners and those falsely charged for alleged involvement in armed struggle and lodged in various prisons over the last 10 years including those JKLF leaders from Azad Kashmir must be released immediately.
· Maqbool Butt Shaheed was executed illegally and Kashmiris will one day take the Indian government to International Court of Justice for this judicial murder. In the meantime we wish Maqbool Butt shaheed's remains buried in Tihar jail to be handed back to us as soon as possible.
Both India and Pakistan can ill afford to spend huge amounts of money on building their military arsenals. In both countries there are millions of people who do not have access to clean drinking water, and millions are living below the poverty line; and yet both are spending big portion of their resources on arms. If the Kashmir dispute is resolved then these resources could be channelled to complete social and welfare programmes. We therefore urge both countries to take the Kashmiri people in confidence and start a new process of negotiations.
We hope you will take these proposals seriously, and look forward to hearing from you soon.
Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front
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