Geelani: I won’t play spoilsport
16 November 2003
The Hindustan Times
Srinagar: All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman Syed Ali Geelani has said that he will not play spoilsport if New Delhi holds talks with the Moulvi Abbas Ansari group. 'Agar wohi log azadi laate hai, hamain khushi hogi (If they bring freedom, we will be happy),' he told HT.Geelani, however, expressed reservations about the outcome of the dialogue 'if at all it ever takes place'.'They (the Central government) are not sincere,' he alleged. 'They just want to show to the world that we are talking. Their main agenda is to discredit or neutralise the Kashmiri leadership.'Even in recent years they wooed a section of former militant leaders — Imran Rahi, Babar Badre, Bilal Lodhi — and held several rounds of talks with them,' said the Hurriyat leader.'They were thrown into the dustbin soon after being neutralised. I am sure that the fate of others (who stand for dialogue just for name's sake) will be the same.'He referred to home minister L.K. Advani's recent statement that the dialogue would be on devolution of powers and said, 'They are yet to talk, but Advani made his opinion public.'When asked if he would hold talks with New Delhi if invited, Geelani said he was not averse to talks. 'Only a meaningful dialogue can lead to a solution,' he said.Geelani said Pakistan was as equal a party to the Kashmir dispute as India. 'New Delhi is not ready to talk to that country, what will they talks with us?' he asked.He also offered a seven-point formula for ending militancy in Jammu and Kashmir: recognition of Kashmir as a dispute by India, withdrawal of forces, release of all jailed people, termination of the Disturbed Areas Act and Armed Forces Special Powers Act, permission to hold peaceful protests and public rallies, end to the use of power by the forces and withdrawal of POTA and the Public Safety Act.