September 2005 News

Centre Sends Invite To Yasin, Shabir For J-K Peace Parleys

3 September 2005
The Indian Express

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will rekindle the Kashmir dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference leadership on Monday as part of a larger process that will involve parleys with other separatist leaders such as Yasin Malik of the JKLF and Shabir Shah of the Democratic Freedom Party. Government sources confirmed that invitations had been sent to Malik and Shah to consolidate the peace process. Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, who will lead the Hurriyat team, said they did not have a definite roadmap, and the exercise was to reinvigorate the process and improve situation in the Valley. The spadework has been done by Centre's key Kashmir interlocutor Wajahat Habibullah and Congress MP Saifuddin Soz who were in the Valley last week. Habibullah met Mirwaiz and held parleys with other separatist leaders. Soz influenced the Hurriyat through Prof Abdul Gani Bhat. The talks are not without larger ramifications given that Mirwaiz had already met Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. The meeting with the PM will allow Musharraf to take credit for pitching the Kashmir issue to the forefront. This talks will not only send a signal to the international community but also consolidate the Umer Farooq faction of the Hurriyat Conference. New Delhi has done its homework, with J-K Chief Secretary Vijay Bakaya meeting top officials. Meanwhile, among separatist Kashmir leaders outside the talks fold, Shabir Ahmad Shah and Sajjad Gani Lone are ready to join the dialogue if the Centre invites them. 'If an invitation comes our way, we will debate it,' says Shah. People's Conference leader Lone is not averse to talks. 'I believe in the institution of dialogue.' Geelani strikes a different cord. 'Only implementation of (the) UN resolution can viably solve the Kashmir dispute. We cannot be party to a futile exercise of talks with India which are explicitly aimed at maintaining the status quo,' an aide of his says.


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