May 2001 News

Govt will respond with ‘open mind’ to Shah’s queries

1 May 2001
The Indian Express

New Delhi: Centre's Kashmir negotiator K C Pant today met Home Minister L K Advani and later said the Government will respond with an ‘‘open mind’’ to the queries raised by Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah for participation in the dialogue. ‘‘We will respond to the clarifications sought by Shah with an open mind once these reach us,’’ Pant said here after his meeting with Advani. He had met Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Sunday. Shah, who heads Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party, had said his party was not against holding talks with the Centre but was seeking ‘‘certain clarifications’’ which included whether the talks are for resolution of Kashmir issue and on involvement of Pakistan in the dialogue. Pant said ‘‘if he (Shah) has responded to the process, I will also respond certainly’’. On his meeting with the Home Minister, Pant said ‘‘there was nothing significant’’. Advani had been away from the capital and the two discussed certain developments in Kashmir, he said. On Hurriyat Conference’s condition for involving Pakistan in talks, Pant said ‘‘I have not received any formal communication from them and therefore, I have no comments to make.’’ Pant had sent the 23-party Hurriyat Conference a written invitation for holding talks without any pre-conditions following which the amalgam met several times. On April 26, the Hurriyat Conference responded to the offer by saying ‘‘a just, everlasting and honourable solution to the Kashmir issue could be found only through tripartite talks involving Pakistan.’’


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