September 2005 News

Secret talks between Hizb and Indian govt on the cards

13 September 2005
The Daily Times
Mohammed Rizwan

Lahore: On the heels of an impending partial demilitarisation of the Kashmir Valley in India, secret moves are afoot to get the Hizbul Mujahideen and Jihad Council, a 13-party conglomerate led by Commander Salahuddin, and India on the table - possibly in a third country - to thrash out a roadmap to a Kashmir solution. 'Talks will be kept secret as New Delhi knows that no solution of the Kashmir dispute is possible without the explicit support of the Hizbul Mujahideen and Jihad Council,' sources privy to developments told Daily Times. 'Therefore a secret meeting between an emissary of Delhi and Commander Salahuddin is on the cards.'The sources also claimed that such a development, and pressure exerted by pro-Delhi parties in Kashmir on the Indian leadership to talk to the jihadis, were not possible without a nod from New Delhi.Saleem Hashmi, spokesman of the Hizbul Mujahideen, confirmed to Daily Times that they (Hizb) knew that pro-Delhi Kashmiri parties and the pro-Pakistan All Parties Hurriyat Conference are all pressing Delhi for a meeting with Hizb and other major jihadi parties to make the peace process more meaningful and broad-based. 'I know that they are pressing Delhi to include the Jihad Council in the peace process to make it more meaningful, because no solution of the Kashmir dispute is possible unless jihadi organisations are on board,' Hashmi said.Hashmi said, however, that so far there has been no direct contact between Delhi and the Jihad Council. 'We do not have any direct contact with Delhi but if we are contacted in order to beef up the peace process, we'll assess the situation on the ground and decide accordingly,' said Hashmi.'I don't know what role the pro-Delhi parties are playing in the whole situation but if we see flexibility in the Indian stance on Kashmir and a serious commitment on demilitarisation then we'll act according to the situation,' said Hashmi.


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