Geneva, Mar 15: Well-known Kashmiri activist Shabir Choudhry has joined the United Kashmir Peoples National Party (UKPNP), saying that he intended to advance the cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir with a democratic, liberal and secular society.
In a statement, Choudhry said, “I find the UKPNP closer to my political ideology. Apart from that, I have close friendly and working relations with Sardar Shaukat Kashmiri and other leaders of the UKPNP. I understand, the UKPNP has a better clarity of political issues and challenges facing people of the divided Jammu and Kashmir.”
“The UKPNP, despite many hurdles created by those who dislike its ideology and mission, has moved forward under the leadership of its Chairman, Sardar Shaukat Kashmiri. Any political party is a vehicle to advance a political programme. I thought there was no need to reinvent a wheel again. In my view, it is better to support the UKPNP, rather than setting up a small party of my own,” he stressed.
Choudhry added that after joining UKPNP, he would advocate the idea of advancing the cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir and promote peace and stability in South Asia.
Revisiting his entry to politics, Choudhary said, “I started my political struggle as a teenager in 1973, and helped to set up Kashmir Youth Movement to advance the cause of J&K. We did our work according to our experience and knowledge of that time. Later on, Mr. Amanullah Khan, Abdul Khaliq Ansari and Masoom Ansari came to visit me in Halifax, England in 1976; and suggested that we should work together as a team instead of working in small groups.”
The Kashmiri activist said that a new political party would be formed to advance the cause of an independent Jammu & Kashmir. The Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) came into being in 1977.
Choudhary continued, “In other words, the JKLF did not give ideology of an independent Jammu and Kashmir to me; as I started working for the cause of an independent Kashmir in 1973; and helped to set up the JKLF in 1977. I was among the founders of the JKLF, and held various senior posts, including the posts of Secretary General and President in Britain. After developing some ideological difference with the senior leadership of the JKLF, we started to work separately.”
In 2007, Choudhary and his other colleagues set up a new political party with the name of Kashmir National Party (KNP). However, in November 2016, he resigned from the KNP and set up a think-tank called, South Asia Watch in London.
“Some years ago, because of the ideological affinity a few rounds of talks were held to merge the KNP and UKPNP. Somehow it did not materialise. After leaving the KNP, some parties and splinter groups and disgruntled members of some parties asked me to join them or set up a new party to lead them,” he explained.
“The UKPNP leaders also contacted me to join their ranks. I had an option of either joining one of the parties; or set up my own party that I can also become a Chairman of a political party. There are many small Kashmiri parties, which more or less, believe in the same ideology but do not unite, mainly because there can only be one Chairman,” Choudhry added. (ANI)