LoC Road Smooth For Mirwaiz, Still Bumpy For Geelani
25 May 2005
The Indian Express
Srinagar: THE Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led moderate Hurriyat Conference today said its leaders would board the bus to Muzaffarabad on June 2 even as leaders in the Syed Ali Shah Geelani-headed faction are trying hard to persuade the hawk to undertake the historic visit. Mirwaiz said he would select a high-level delegation and apply for the travel tomorrow. 'The executive, general council and working committee have decided unanimously that Hurriyat should undertake a visit to Muzaffarabad, PoK and Pakistan,' he said. Sources said the team will comprise of either four or five members with all four executives - Mirwaiz, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Lone and Maulana Abbas Ansari. Mirwaiz said after completing their Pakistan visit, the Hurriyat would like to resume discussions with Centre. 'We believe it is imperative to talk to both the nations to strengthen the dialogue process,' he said. 'Pakistan has invited us and now Government of India should also show sincerity to talk. They could do that by improving the human rights record and providing relief to people,' the Hurriyat leader said, adding 'If Centre can remove these irritants and change its attitude, the dialogue process can have forward movement.' On whether they would like to travel with other faction leaders, Mirwaiz said 'he is always for unity and would like all leaders to walk together and speak in one voice.' Meanwhile, several of the 16 constituent units of the Geelani-led Hurriyat have started to mount pressure on the separatist hardliner to board the June 2 bus. At least six leaders told The Indian Express that they favoured the bus trip and have been persuading Geelani. Geelani had earlier dismissed the bus service 'as a ploy by New Delhi to maintain a status quo on Kashmir and had rejected Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf's Kashmir formula of 'maximum self-governance.' In a related development, JKLF chairman Yasin Malik said the party meeting held regarding the Pakistan invite ended inconclusively today. 'The meet will continue tomorrow and we will come out with a decision,' he said. But former JKLF vice-chairman Javid Ahmad Mir said his party had given him the mandate to travel on the June 2 bus.