December 2004 News

Mirwaiz for political dialogue

12 December 2004
The Hindu

Kathmandu: The Hurriyat Conference leader, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, has said that a political dialogue was necessary to resolve the Kashmir problem and all parties in the 'conflict should rise above' the traditional stance. The Mirwaiz is here to attend a meeting with Kashmiri leaders from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Altogether 45 participants from India and Pakistan, including retired Generals, former bureaucrats, journalists and politicians are participating in the three-day meet, organised by Pugwash International, Nobel Peace Prize winning Italian organisation. Economic integration, opening of the border between the PoK and Kashmir and involvement of Kashmiris in the India-Pakistan dialogue process are among the issues being discussed in the meeting. The Mirwaiz, who is accompanied by Abdul Ghani Bhat, said 'we are meeting together here, which in itself is a big achievement. We need to move forward looking into future rather than going into history.' The Mirwaiz said the best thing was to facilitate a triangular dialogue to develop a broader consensus on the issue. 'You can't solve the problem thorough violence or by using force. Political dialogue is necessary to resolve the problem. It's the time to move forward. All the parties of conflict should rise above tradition.' Both India and Pakistan should give political space to the Kashmiri people. They should help build a conducive atmosphere so that the people of Kashmir feel that they could freely talk and interact, he said. Among others who are attending the conference are the Vice- Chancellor of Jammu University, Amitabha Mattoo, the Panthers Party chief, Bhim Singh, the former Foreign Secretaries, M.K. Rasgotra and Muchkund Dubey, the former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, G. Parthasarthy, and senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh. The meeting will not pass any formal resolutions, the organisers said.


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