'Pak Support To Kashmiris Dwindling'
25 March 2005
The Indian Express
New Delhi: Observing that Islamabad's support to 'Kashmiris' movement' had diluted lately, pro-Pakistan separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani today was non-committal about his meeting with President Pervez Musharraf when he visits India next month. 'I will think about it when I get an invitation,' the hardline leader said when asked whether he would meet Musharraf considering that he boycotted Pakistan Day function at the Pakistan high commission here on Wednesday. 'I will discuss it with my colleagues. The Majlis-e-Shura (highest decision-making body of his Tehreek-e-Hurriyat conglomerate) will take a decision on it,' Geelani said. All Pakistani leaders visiting India make it a point to meet separatist leaders. Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, during his visit here in November, held four-hour long talks with the separatist leaders, trying to forge unity among them. When referred to his boycott of Pakistan Day function, Geelani said it was to 'register token protest' against Islamabad's decision to go ahead with the Srinagar- Muzaffarabad bus service. The separatist leader, however, maintained that he did not wish a 'confrontation' with Pakistan, as the country has been 'supporting our cause for the last 57 years'. Geelani said the protest was to 'give Pakistan a feeling that they have to continue providing moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris' movement. It is their obligation.' Asked whether he felt that this support had diluted lately, Geelani replied in the affirmative. 'It may not be reflected in the statements but it is clear by actions (of Pakistan),' he said. He claimed that plying the bus was 'not favourable to our movement'. When it was pointed out that Pakistan was going ahead with the bus service despite his 'token protest', Geelani said 'governments cannot be stopped from work. Has the Government of India been stopped from indulging in atrocities in Kashmir?'