Lone wants PoK people to have say in J&K talks
8 October 2000
The Times of India
Srinagar: Abdul Ghani Lone''s People''s Conference on Sunday asked both India and Pakistan to also involve the people of Pak-occupied Kashmir (PoK), along with those of Jammu and Kashmir, in the talks. The party adopted a resolution to this effect at its convention, the first meeting of a separatist organisation to be allowed in 11 years. Lone alleged that the Kashmir policies in both Pakistan and India were being framed and implemented by the intelligence agencies and the respective political leaderships were not associated with them. Lone also indicated that talks to solve the Kashmir issue could be resumed in the near future. Referring to the scuttled talks between the Centre and the Hizbul Mujahideen, he said it wasn''t an ordinary development that the ''Right-wing'' Bharatiya Janata Party agreed to talk to a militant outfit. This development proved beyond doubt that a meaningful dialogue could be resumed in future to solve the Kashmir issue, Lone said. He said as a result of the numerous sacrifices made by the people of Jammu and Kashmir for the last 53 years, every country in the world was pressing India and Pakistan to give up their respective claims on the state and resume talks. Irrespective of their conflicting claims, historically Kashmir was neither part of Pakistan nor India, he said. Every dispute has two claimants, but in the case of Jammu and Kashmir there are three parties, he said. There is no scope for finding a lasting solution to the issue if one party is left out, he added. Criticising both India and Pakistan, Lone said the two countries were considering Jammu and Kashmir as a boundary dispute between them and did not care about the aspirations of the people of Kashmir who made sacrifices for independence. ''The height of irony is that both the countries do not even consider the Kashmiris as a party to the issue,'' he said. Criticising India for not agreeing to involve Pakistan in the talks, Lone said it was India which made Pakistan a party to the issue by taking the Kashmir issue to the United Nations. Pakistan''s involvement in the talks to resolve the Kashmir issue is all the more necessary as one-third of the state''s territory is under its occupation, Lone said. Lone clarified that the Hurriyat had no role in sabotaging the talks between the Centre and the Hizbul Mujahideen as claimed by New Delhi. The attendance at Sunday''s convention was far bigger than the one held by the National Conference at the same venue a year ago, when Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah had addressed a rally.