November 2000 News

Funeral diplomacy - Musharraf calls up Hurriyat leader to mourn his brother''s death

10 November 2000
The Indian Express

Srinagar: Pakistanís military strongman Pervez Musharraf today called up senior Hurriyat leader Agha Hassan Mehdi to offer his condolences on the death of his younger brother, noted Shia leader Agha Syed Mehdi. Mehdi, who contested the last elections on the Congress ticket, was killed along with six others in a militant attack on November 3 near Budgam. An unknown militant outfit, Lashkar-e-Karbala, apparently a Shia group, had claimed responsibility for the attack. Speaking to The Indian Express, Hassan Mehdi said that Musharraf condemned the killing and told him that ''the whole of Pakistan shares the grief.'' Incidentally, more than 70,000 people had turned up at the Shia leader''s funeral. For the first time in the Valley, groups from across the political spectrum - Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad to Hurriyat chief Abdul Ghani Bhat - had gathered to pay their last respects. Hassan Mehdi said today that he told the General to ''use his good offices in finding a solution to the Kashmir issue. ''(I told him) that many innocents are being killed,'' he said. According to Hassan Mehdi, Musharraf told him that he was for a dialogue but Indian''s ''intransigence'' was coming in the way.


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