Farooq asks Manmohan Govt to talk to Hurriyat leaders
30 May 2004
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent
LONDON: Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Dr Farooq Abdullah has urged the Manmohan Singh Government to hold dialogue with all parties, including the Hurriyat Conference, to find a solution to the Kashmir issue. 'I request India that they discuss with every single soul, whether Hurriyat or other parties, and make every effort to see that the discussions are fruitful,' Abdullah said while addressing a two-day conference of International Kashmir Alliance here last evening. On the continuing violence in the State which has claimed nearly a lakh lives so far, Abdullah said 'It seems to be unsolvable. There is a false climate of normalcy. It is lull before storm. Today you have visitors in Kashmir. 'But one bomb blast and all of them will run as if they never existed. Our total economy is dependent on tourism and we have nothing else.' On the issue of having a soft border with Pakistan, he said 'we too want the border to open with Pakistan. But will that happen as Pakistan has put condition that those passing the line of control must have UN passport.' Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who also addressed the gathering, suggested open borders between India and Pakistan as a confidence-building measure which could be extended to the entire South Asia subsequently. 'Over 45 Kashmiri leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and other places in Pakistan were attending the conference convened to examine the jurisprudence of the distribution of the people of Jammu and Kashmir under three administrations at Srinagar, Muzaffarabad and Gilgit,' said Syed Nazir Gilani, chairman of the International Kashmir Alliance (IKA). Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, secretary general of IKA alleged some of the Kashmiri leaders have been playing the 'blame game'. 'They blame everyone except themselves for the present situation facing the State,' he said. Hurriyat constituent People’s Conference leader Sajjad Lone said the agony of the past should not become an impediment for establishing peace in the future. 'We have to find a non-political solution to the problem of Kashmir,' he said.