'Kashmiri leadership will be consulted before talks with India'
24 June 2004
B. Muralidhar Reddy
Islamabad: Ahead of the Foreign Secretary-level talks scheduled in New Delhi, Pakistan today assured the 'Kashmiri leadership' that they would be taken into confidence before discussing any concrete proposals with India for resolution of the Kashmir issue. The Foreign Minister, Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri, and the Foreign Secretary, Riaz Khokhar, briefed the Kashmiri leaders on the talks scheduled for June 27 and 28. It appears that Mr. Kasuri told the Pakistan chapter representatives of the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference that there was little chance for a discussion on any concrete proposals on Kashmir at the bureaucratic level. He told them that they would be consulted before his scheduled bilateral meeting with the External Affairs Minister, Natwar Singh, in August. The two Ministers, who had their first face-to-face meeting in China last week, will have an opportunity for another informal meeting on the sidelines of the SAARC Ministerial meeting scheduled here on July 21 and 22. The President of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Sardar Anwar, its Prime Minister, Sardar Sikandar Hayat, the supreme leader of Muslim Conference, Sardar Abdul Qayyum, the Muslim Conference chief, Sardar Ateeq Ahmed, the Leader of the Opposition in PoK Assembly, Barrister Sultan Mehmood Chaudhry, the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference leader, Farooq Rehmani and other Kashmiri leaders attended the briefing. Mr. Kasuri hoped that technical details regarding the opening of consulates in Karachi and Mumbai would be settled at the Foreign Secretary-level talks. He said that it was a pressing demand by the people of Karachi that an Indian consulate be opened in the city. Similarly, there was a dire need for the opening up of Pakistan's consulate in Mumbai.