December 2005 News

APHC leaders’ visit put off

19 December 2005
The News International

Islamabad: The much-awaited visit of leaders belonging to the moderate faction of All Parties Hurriyat Conference to Pakistan and Azad Kashmir has been postponed. The visit is expected to take place early next year. The APHC visit was significant in the backdrop of Pakistan's proposal of self-governance in Kashmir and demilitarisation of the area that has been supported by almost all Kashmiri groups. Diplomatic sources confided to The News that APHC Chairman Mirwaiz Omar Farooq was coming to Islamabad along with some other leaders. They had to be here in the second week of current month. Primarily, the leaders were coming to express solidarity with the people affected by the October 8 earthquake. According to their initial plan, they had to bring relief goods and most of them had to cross over from the entry points, opened at the Line of Control (LoC) on President Pervez Musharraf's proposal. All the eight leaders had prepared travelling documents and the Indian government had been intimated of their plan. India was reluctant to facilitate crossing of the entry points by these leaders to enable them attract wide publicity, the sources hinted. On the other side leaders and administration of the Azad Kashmir government were hectically engaged in finalising a programme for their reception. APHC Chairman Mirwaiz Omar Farooq had a meeting with President Musharraf in Makkah early this month where they had gone to take part in the extraordinary summit of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). He expressed grief over the human losses and destruction caused by the earthquake. The Mirwaiz was enthusiastic about his upcoming visit to Azad Kashmir and Pakistan. It may be mentioned that APHC has already announced total support to the vision of President General Pervez Musharraf for self-governance in Kashmir and demilitarisation of the territory. Meanwhile, Pakistan and India would ink a memorandum of understanding (MoU) regarding Lahore-Amritsar and Nankana Sahib-Amritsar bus service tomorrow (Wednesday) on the conclusion of expert level talks commencing here today (Tuesday). The Lahore-Amritsar bus service will begin on 27-28th of this month while Nankana Sahib-Amritsar service will be starting early next year. Earlier it was speculated that both the services would be starting next week. Both the countries would be plying their buses once a week on the two routes, the sources added. The fare for Lahore-Amritsar bus service has already been fixed at Rs 950 while Nankana Sahib-Amritsar will cost Rs 1,100. The relevant details would also be announced tomorrow, the sources added.


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