November 2000 News

Mirwaiz sees shift in Islamabad''s stand

18 November 2000
The Dawn

DUBAI: A senior leader of the Hurriyet Conference, Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, has claimed that Pakistan''s position on the resolution of the Kashmir issue has ''changed''. Islamabad was ready to give up on its insistence on UN resolutions - which included a plebiscite - in favor of a negotiated solution, he added. The Hurriyet leader, who met Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf on the sidelines of the OIC meeting in Doha, also told the Gulf News that the Hurriyet Conference was ''willing to hold talks'' with India and Pakistan separately if the two countries ''are not willing to talk directly'' on the Kashmir issue. He observed that any solution to the Kashmir issue should be acceptable to all three parties India, Pakistan and the Kashmiris. ''There is a shift in Pakistan''s position,'' the former Hurriyet chairman said. Musharraf''s stand (on Kashmir) is very flexible. It''s a change from the position held by Pakistan in the past where they always insisted on a solution based on the implementation of UN resolutions that call for a plebiscite, he said. He said ''Musharraf seems agreeable to a negotiated settlement. He wants to have a dialogue with us to reach a solution that is agreeable to us, the people of Kashmir.'' Stating that the Kashmiris were the ''primary party'' in the dispute even though neither India nor Pakistan ''recognizes'' that, the Hurriyet leader said ''We must find a solution that is acceptable to all the three parties.'' He maintained that for a settlement ''the first thing that should go is the Line of Control'' to facilitate free movement of the people of Kashmir on either side.-NNI


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