August 2000 News

No Hizbul Objection Conveyed To Me: Qureshi

19 August 2000
Times of India
Law Kumar Mishra

Srinagar: People''s Political Front chairman and Hizbul Mujahideen''s principal negotiator Fazal Haq Qureshi said here on Saturday that he was yet to hear from the militant outfit''s supreme commander Syed Salahuddin on his reported objections to restarting talks. Qureshi told The Times of India that he had come to know about the Hizbul Mujahideen''s reservations on his role only from media reports. ''Salahuddin has not conveyed his objections directly to me. He had talked to me over phone on Wednesday night conveying his desire to renew the dialogue with the Union government. Since then, there has been no further communication.'' So far there had been no word from the Union government either, Qureshi said. ''But I still hope the talks will be resumed.'' He admitted he was upset over the developments which were jeopardising the peace process. He made it clear that he was not acting as a Hizbul Mujahideen spokesman, but had simply conveyed what Salahuddin had desired. Salim Hashmi, the Hizbul Mujahideen spokesman, had claimed on Friday that Qureshi had no authority to talk on behalf of the outfit because his role as negotiator was over with the ceasefire''s withdrawal. Meanwhile, an emergency meeting of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference, held here on Saturday, failed to reach any decision on the issue of setting up two committees to negotiate with Pakistan and India, as had been suggested by its chairman, Abdul Gani Bhatt. An APHC spokesman said no decision could be taken as only four of the seven executive committee members were present. While Yasin malik and A.G. Lone are in Delhi, Mirwaiz Farooq is in Iran. Earlier in the day, Bhatt had said that the proposal to constitute two panels from the APHC executive committee was purely his personal idea. He had said it might take shape only if the Indian and Pakistani governments accepted it. Senior APHC leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who had preceded Bhatt as APHC chief, had also said that the proposal was Bhatt''s personal view. There had been no discussions with the Hurriyat leaders about it. He said he was doubtful about the success of such missions. Asked whether the Hurriyat was in contact with the Hizb, he said: ''It may be in contact with Delhi, not with us.'' In another development, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has alleged that the Union government was planning a conspiracy to blame the outfit for ''engineered'' massacres in the state and asked members of the minority community to be cautious of such ''designs''. In a press release here, a LeT spokesman also denied the outfit''s involvement in the recent killings in the state.


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