Pant prepares for talks on Kashmir
14 April 2001
The Times of India
The Times of India News Service
NEW DELHI: Planning Commission deputy chairman and the Centre's chief mediator in the Kashmir talks K C Pant seems to be going ahead with his agenda of opening negotiation with all Kashmiri groups. So far the response of the Hurriyat Conference to the government's proposal has been confused with Hurriyat leaders speaking in different voices. However, undeterred by the Hurriyat response, the Centre is going ahead with its "unconditional talks" agenda to sort the Kashmir imbroglio. To begin with, Pant held discussions with the state government officials and some "key figures" who have either served or were serving in the state, according to government sources. Pant also reportedly met some officials in the home and foreign ministries to discuss the Kashmir issue. He was also briefed by senior police officers from Jammu and Kashmir. These meetings were designed to prepare ground for dialogue with the militants and secessionist outfits in the state, the sources said. The Centre's invitation for the dialogue covers a broad spectrum of organisations - the state government, all political parties, NGOs, trade unions, social and religious bodies as also Kashmiri militant organisations desirous of peace.