Hurriyat Factions Close To Reconciliation
3 May 2005
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: The two factions of Hurriyat Conference seemed closer to reconciliation as they met here today to discuss the formation of a coordination committee among the separatists. A seven-member delegation led by Mushtaqul Islam, a former chief of Hizbullah militant outfit, met chairman of moderate faction Mirwaiz Umer Farooq at his Nigeen residence here to workout modalities, highly placed sources said. Islam has already held meetings with chairman of hardline faction of Hurriyat Syed Ali Shah Geelani and leader of Democratic Freedom Party Shabir Ahmad Shah in this regard, the sources said. The executive committee of the moderate faction, which met yesterday to discuss the current situation including the issue of unity, postponed their meeting today to accommodate the interaction with the mediating group, they said. The sources said a complete merger with Geelani-led faction might not become a reality but the hardline leader has shown inclination for working in tandem with the moderates through a coordination committee. The two sides are working out the modalities for functioning of the coordination committee and might come out with a formal announcement by the end of this week, they said. The process of reconciliation between the two factions of Hurriyat was initiated after Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf made it clear to the separatists during his India visit recently that their inclusion in the dialogue process would take place only if they were a united house, they added. PTI adds from Islamabad: Accusing Pakistan of deviating from its stand on the Kashmir issue with India, hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has said 'friendly' relations between the two countries could not flourish without the resolution of the problem. In a recorded telephonic address to a public meeting in Hattian Bala, some 45 km south of PoK's capital Muzaffarabad yesterday, he said President Pervez Musharraf 'says the Line of Control will not be accepted as permanent border, but the steps being taken by Islamabad indicate that perhaps it has agreed to (maintain) the present status.' 'Pakistan's Kashmir policy has been changed. Instead of core issue, Kashmir is being treated as one of the several unresolved issues between the two countries,' he told the meeting attended by about 2,000 people, local daily 'Dawn' reported today. Claiming that trade, sports and exchange of delegations with India were against the interests of Pakistan, Geelani said 'I am not against friendly relations between India and Pakistan but I want to make the two Governments realise that without resolving Kashmir such relations cannot flourish.' Reacting to Geelani's allegations that Islamabad was getting ready to accept the status quo in Kashmir, Pakistan Foreign office spokesman Jalil Abbas Jilani told reporters that 'with regard to any plan (of status quo), let me very emphatically say that there are no preconceived plans. 'Pakistan has a principled position on Jammu and Kashmir dispute. We have said time and again at every level that the issue will and has to be resolved in accordance with aspirations of people of Kashmir.'