Pant will talk to all groups except Hizb, says Advani
3 April 2001
The Asian Age
New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday ruled out talks with the Hizbul Mujahideen and said the task of initiating a dialogue with all groups in Jammu and Kashmir is being entrusted to Mr K.C. Pant. “We will hold talks with all parties in Jammu, Ladakh and the Kashmir Valley soon,” Union home minister L.K. Advani said here. He replied in the negative when asked whether there was any possibility of talking to the Hizbul Mujahideen militants. The home minister said that Mr Pant, Planning Commission deputy chairman, would be the government’s representative during the dialogue. Asked how soon the talks would begin, Mr Advani said the modalities of the dialogue process were being worked out. Mr Pant, who has decades of administrative and political experience, has served as defence minister and minister of state for home during the Congress regime. Mr Advani said the talks could possibly begin in May with Kashmiri groups in India.