April 2002 News

Lone, Mirwaiz in Dubai to hold talks with Qayoom

13 April 2002
The Times of India

NEW DELHI: Two senior Hurriyat Conference leaders including one of its former Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq have been camping in Dubai to meet the chief of Pakistan''s Kashmir cell Sardar Abdul Qayoom in a bid to iron out differences between Islamabad and moderate leadership of the amalgam.The Mirwaiz, who was camping in the port city since last week, was joined by Abdul Gani Lone on Saturday to meet Qayoom and chalk out future strategies, conglomerate insiders said.Lone was handed over the passport recently to facilitate his travel to the United States on health grounds. His passport had been revoked after his much-hyped visit to Pakistan in 2000.A Hurriyat spokesman, while confirming the departure of Lone, however, said his visit to the port city was confined to facilitate his daughter-in-law''s travel to Pakistan.It may be mentioned that Lone''s son Sajjad had married Asma Khan, daughter of JKLF supremo Amanullah Khan. Sajjad had to ''leave'' Pakistan late in 2001 following a newspaper article written by him where he questioned Islamabad''s Kashmir policy.The meeting between Qayoom and the two Hurriyat leaders was aimed to ''sort out the differences'' that had cropped up after the announcement of parallel election commission by the Hurriyat Chief Abdul Gani Bhat and senior leader Yaseen Malik. The visit of the two leaders follows a marathon discussion between Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Pakistan high commission officials here on March 27, Hurriyat insiders said.They said Hurriyat Chairman Bhat was not happy over the developments and was ''feeling betrayed'' by the approach of certain vested interests to sideline him.Attempts to contact Bhat in Srinagar did not fructify but sources close to him said his only aim was to hold the ''flock'' together till the end of his tenure in July this year.Bhat has already come under fire for announcing the proposed election commission, which had now taken a back seat following arrest of JKLF chief Malik.Though Malik and Bhat, in a bid to pacify the growing number of critics within the amalgam, had claimed that the formation of the election commission had the tacit blessing of some thinktanks in the United States, some of the senior American officials were quick to deny such reports.Some senior American officials had reportedly expressed the view that the amalgam leadership would have to prove their representative character by participating in the scheduled polls.


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