People's Conference Turns Down PM's Offer Of Talks
18 February 2006
Srinagar: After fire-brand pro-Pakistan leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, it was the turn of People's Conference, a constituent of Hurriyat Conference, to spurn Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's offer of talks on Kashmir at a roundtable. People's Conference faction led by Bilal Lone convened a working committee meeting of his party during which the decision was taken to impress upon the Hurriyat leadership to turn down the offer of the Centre for such a roundtable conference, party sources said. Lone was already upset over the Centre's move to rope in his brother Sajjad, who heads another faction of Jammu and Kashmir People's Conference, to the dialogue. A majority of PC's leaders were against participating in the roundtable conference saying that the Centre had started drawing in 'other people', which was against the ethos of tripartite talks initiated by Hurriyat Conference by talking to New Delhi and Islamabad, the sources said. The decision of the People's Conference would be conveyed to the Hurriyat's executive meeting on Monday. The Awami Action Committee, led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, will be meeting tomorrow. The Mirwaiz has been bed-ridden since last evening with a plaster after he fractured his ankle. The Prime Minister had convened a meeting of various political and those outside the electoral process on February 25 in here to find a solution for a lasting peace in Jammu and Kashmir.