SRINAGAR: Terming the assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi as a loss for Pakistan as well as the Kashmir cause, the Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said he feared that her death might derail the ongoing Indo-Pak peace process. “Some powers want to destabilize Pakistan and assassination of Benazir Bhutto is part of it. A strong Pakistan is not only important for whole Muslim Ummah, but for people Kashmir of as well. Only a strong and stable Pakistan would help solve the Kashmir issue,” Mirwaiz told a Friday congregation at Srinagar’s historic Grand Mosque.
Praising Benazir’s stance on the Kashmir issue, Mirwaiz said that whether in or out of power, she always wanted solution of the Kashmir problem. “She always felt the pain and sufferings of Kashmiris and highlighted it at world forums,” he said. Recalling his meeting with Benazir in Dubai last year, Mirwaiz said, “When I met her, she assured me that her party would support any proposal which is aimed at the resolution of Kashmir issue despite having differences with the Musharraf regime.”
“When I later visited Pakistan, the members of her Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) assured me that they would endorse any proposal which is in line with the aspirations of Kashmiris. Her death is a tragedy and a great loss which is difficult to fill,” he added. Mirwaiz added: “I met her for the first time at Casablanca during Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting when she was PM. She introduced me to Islamic leaders. I was too young that time and she supported me as if I was her younger brother.”
“When Benazir came to power in 1988 Mirwaiz Molvi Farooq (the late father of Mirwaiz Umar) sent a letter to her requesting her to visit all Muslim countries and also have a look at the Kashmir situation,” Umar recalled. Meanwhile, hundreds of people offered prayers in memory of Benazir at the Grand Mosque. Later in the evening, Mirwaiz Umar told Greater Kashmir that the Indo-Pak peace process which was already going slow could be derailed because of the situation in Pakistan.
“There was a hope that new government in Pakistan would push India for settlement of Kashmir, but killing of Benazir could derail the already slow peace process between the two countries,” he said. Meanwhile, the Hurriyat has called a condolence meeting on Saturday in memory of Benazir Bhutto.-SANA