Srinagar: The Chief Minister of Bangsamoro – an autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao in Philippines, Murad Ebrahim on Sunday said that the issue of Kashmir is very challenging because of India that is not very eager to grant autonomy to Kashmir.
According to a report published by an international news organisation Anadolu Agency, Ebrahim has advocated for a “meaningful autonomy” status to people of Kashmir.
Ebrahim, who is also the chairman of Moro Islamic Liberation Front, made these comments while addressing an international webinar titled, ‘An Islamic Way of Struggle: Bangsamoro Perspective’, today.
The international virtual meet was hosted by Turkey-based International Youth Forum (IYFO) and South Asia Youth Organization (SAYO).
“During our struggle, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front leadership stayed in Pakistan for several years,” the report quoted Ebrahim as saying, during the seminar.
He told the news agency that issue of Kashmir is very, very challenging. “Because we have one country, India, not very eager to grant autonomy to Kashmir,” he said.
Ebrahim further said that Moro people know “hardship and difficulties people of Kashmir are facing”.
“I think there must be enough mobilization of the Islamic world to pressure the Indian government to give, at least, meaningful autonomy to Kashmiri people,” the Bangsamoro leader told the news agency.
Talking about the liberation movement in Bangsamoro, Ebrahim said, “there were disagreements over the administration of the MNLF [Moro National Liberation Front] and ideological impasses,” he said, referring to a division in the MNLF in 1978, seven years after its foundation.
Ebrahim joined the faction led by Ustad Sheikh Salamat Hashim as chief of armed forces now called Moro Islamic Liberation Front which had recruited and trained over 1,00,000 combatants.
“We promoted consultative and collective leadership in running the affairs of the organization,” said Ebrahim, who is a trained civil engineer.
He said Moro Islamic Liberation Front adopted a four-point program to “achieve our objectives”.
“The four-point program included, Islamization, strengthening of organization, military buildup, and self-reliance,” he said adding the Moro Islamic Liberation Front mobilized 70-80% population of Bangsamoro.
Bangsamoro has nearly 5 million population, mostly Muslims.
From 1982 onwards when the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was established, Ebrahim said the group also “organized political committees in villages”.
“We also procured weapons and other military equipment from abroad through our self-reliance and also managed to establish our factory of arms inside the jungle producing small arms and even rifle grenade launchers or RPGs including its ammunition,” he said.
He said the group continuously conducted regular Islamic lectures and orientation among armed forces and also established thousands of Islamic schools in villages, military units, and political committees.
After several years of fighting, the Philippines government invited the Moro Islamic Liberation Front leadership in 1997 for negotiations.
“We agree and formed our negotiating panel and signed a ceasefire agreement,” said Ebrahim while addressing an online audience from over a dozen countries.
The two sides reached a 9-point agreement including solving the Bangsamoro problem.
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