Geelani Upset Over Pak's Soft Stand
16 March 2005
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Criticising Islamabad for 'softening' its stand on Kashmir issue, leader of the hardline Hurriyat faction Syed Ali Shah Geelani, known for his pro-Pakistan stance, has said it was no longer considering it as the 'core issue' after succumbing to pressure from United States. 'I regret that Pakistan is no more considering Kashmir as a core issue, taking it as one of the issues like gas pipeline which is a non-issue,' the separatist leader said at a function here yesterday. Geelani claimed that United States' dictats and pressure were behind Pakistan's 'soft stance' over Kashmir. 'While holding talks with India, Pakistan should treat Kashmir as a core issue as President Pervez Musharraf did during the Agra summit,' the leader of the breakaway Hurriyat faction, who returned here on March 10 after undergoing treatment for various ailments in New Delhi for about three months, said. A staunch opponent of reopening of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road, Geelani dubbed the opening of the route and other Confidence Building Measures as a 'tamasha' (drama) and attempts to divert attention from the core issue. 'For facilitating meeting of few divided families living across the unnatural divide, the future of the whole population of Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir cannot be sacrificed,' Geelani said adding these 'cosmetic' efforts cannot achieve permanent, durable and realistic settlement of Kashmir dispute.