April 2005 News

Include Ultras In Talks: Mirwaiz

12 April 2005
The Statesman

Jammu: In a significant development in Kashmir's separatist politics, the Hurriyat Conference (Ansari group), perceived as the moderates, today asked both India and Pakistan to involve the Kashmiri separatist militant leadership in the ongoing dialogue process on Kashmir. This is the first time that the moderate faction of the Hurriyat has favoured involving militants in the talks. 'The inclusion of the Kashmiri leadership, both militant and political, into the process has become extremely important and without them the dialogue between India and Pakistan will not bear fruit,' said Mirwaiz Umar Farooq while addressing a press conference in Srinagar after chairing a joint session of the Hurriyat's executive council, general council and working committee. Declaring that they would lay emphasis on this issue during their forthcoming meeting with Gen. Pervez Musharraf on 17 April, the Mirwaiz asserted that they would lay emphasis on this as it has become extremely important to involve Kashmiris in the process and the militant and political leadership need to be consulted for finding a solution to the Kashmir issue. 'It has been our stand and we want to reiterate it again that without Kashmiris the dialogue between India and Pakistan will not be fruitful,' Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said, adding that the Hurriyat wishes to have a separate meeting with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in order to put across its point of view about Kashmir. The Hurriyat, Mirwaiz said, is in touch with the Government of India in this regard and has also desired to meet Dr Singh. He said it was extremely important to have separate meetings with the Pakistani President and the Indian Prime Minister. Pakistan's President Gen. Pervez Musharraf has already invited them for a meeting in New Delhi on 17 April. 'We wish New Delhi also agrees to our meeting with Dr Singh,' he said adding that the meeting with Dr Singh can be considered as a start for the dialogue process that was stalled after the UPA government took over. To a question on whether they are ready to hold dialogue with the UPA government, Mirwaiz said that they had always expressed their desire to meet the Central leadership, provided they accept their three suggestions. 'We have said it time and again that we want dialogue but it should be based on three principals: dialogue on Kashmir issue, involvement of Pakistan and unconditional dialogue. If these things are met we will hold the dialogue.' Mirwaiz further said that they welcomed the bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad. 'but the real issue is that of Kashmir'.


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