Shah accepts talks offer but wants Pak role
28 April 2001
The Hindustan Times
Srinagar: FORMER CHIEF minister and president of Awami National Conference (ANC) Ghulam Mohammad Shah accepted central Government's Kashmir interlocutor K C Pant's invitation for talks but said that such talks should be held in Srinagar and not in New Delhi. 'I will not go to Delhi for talks', he said. “I have bad experience of New Delhi. They have hurt me many times,” he told mediapersons at his residence after the meeting of his party's working committee on Saturday. Shah became the chief minister of Kashmir in July 1984, when he toppled his brother-in-law Farooq Abdullah's government by engineering a defection in the National Conference. His government was, however, dismissed by New Delhi . “KC Pant, instead of sitting in New Delhi, should visit the state and see the reason to concede Kashmiris' wishes and national aspirations at large', he said. The former chief minister said that his party would have no objection in exchanging its views with Mr Pant to solve the Kashmir issue peacefully, equitably, democratically and permanently. He, however, was quick to add that a final and permanent solution could not be found out without involving Pakistan. “Tripartite talks are imperative for finding a lasting solution of Kashmir issue”, Shah said. He said that all the three parties — India, Pakistan and Kashmir should sit together and deliberate on all alternatives put forth as solution by different people at different times and levels. Shah refused to be enumerated among mainstream or pro-India politicians. “I was never pro-India, I am pro-independence”, Shah said. He also criticised Hurriyat Conference for saying no to the offer and said it demonstrated that Hurriyat was pleading a weak case. Meanwhile participants in a seminar called by the Democratic Freedom Party chief Shabir Ahmad Shah were also unanimous in their view that Pakistan must be included in any talks.