September 2005 News

Mufti Sayeed invited

16 September 2005
The Dawn
Masood Haider and Anwar Iqbal

New York: President Pervez Musharraf has invited Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to Pakistan, a well informed official here told Dawn on Friday. According to sources Mahbuba Mufti, member of Jammu and Kashmir parliament and Omar Abdullah, president of Jammu and Kashmir opposition’s National Conference, will visit Pakistan ahead of Chief Minister Mufti’s visit. The decision of General Musharraf to meet the “elected” government in Kashmir, represented by Mufti Sayeed, would be a major concession by Pakistan to the Indians as Islamabad had never recognized the politicians who were taking part in the Indian constitutional process, an online news magazine said Friday. “These are part of confidence building measures which the officials of two countries involved in the Track-II diplomacy have worked out”, said a source. According to a highly placed source, the Track-II diplomats feel much better after the Musharraf-Manmohan meeting. On Saturday President Musharraf will meet moderate Kashmiri leaders led by Mir Waiz Farooq in New York after their historic meeting in New Delhi with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. At a press conference on Thursday, Gen Musharraf noted that India’s acceptance of the Hurriyat leaders as representatives of the people of Kashmir showed that the peace process was moving ahead. “India never recognized the APHC. Now they allowed them to visit Pakistan and meet me. The Indian prime minister also has met APHC leaders. Is this not moving forward?” said Gen Musharraf while citing the Kashmir bus service as another sign of progress in talks. The president said he and the Indian prime minister had discussed “very sensitive issues,” but he was “not prepared to discuss those issues in public.” The Musharraf-Mufti meeting on Oct 3 in Islamabad will be the next stage of the dialogue. Moreover, Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh has agreed to attend a dinner hosted by Pakistan’s foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri for the ministers of South Asian Regional Conference (SARRC) on the sidelines of UN summit next week.


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