Islamabad: Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari has paid tribute to Kashmiri separatist Afzal Guru, who was executed in India for plotting to attack the Indian Parliament, and called his hanging an abuse of judicial process.
Afzal was hanged in New Delhi on February 09 for his alleged involvement in a deadly attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001, sparking more than a week of protests in the Valley, reports the Daily Times.
Zardari said "force and oppression" would not silence calls for self-determination in Kashmir, where a separatist conflict has claimed an estimated 100,000 lives over the last 20 years. He said the hanging of Afzal "through abuse of judicial process" has further angered the Kashmiris.
Afzal was convicted of conspiring with militants who raided the Indian Parliament in 2001. The one-time fruit merchant and medical college dropout had insisted he was innocent and that he was denied a proper legal defence.
Protesters have accused police of framing him. Afzal`s execution was mired in further controversy after his family said they learned about his death from television.
Terming Kashmir an important segment of the composite dialogue process with India, Zardari stressed that any resolution of the Kashmir issue must be centred on Kashmiris themselves.