April 2006 News

Now, Mirwaiz Calls India, Pak To Parallel Hurriyat Roundtable

6 April 2006
The Indian Express

New Delhi: In a move which could unsettle the Prime Minister's plan to convene the second conference on Kashmir in Srinagar, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq today said the Hurriyat would soon organise a parallel roundtable of the 'five regions of J-K'. In an exclusive interview to The Indian Express after his return from Pakistan-he attended the Karachi Conference of the World Social Forum-the Hurriyat chairman also called upon the leadership of India and Pakistan to join in the 'creation of a broader consensus for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute'. He said the five J-K regions were Kashmir, Jammu, Ladakh, Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir and Gilgit. 'It is our desire that the leadership of India and Pakistan also participate in the conference. This will make the exercise productive'. The dates for the roundtable will be finalised at the next executive committee meeting of the Hurriyat. Though the roundtable is seen as a move to pre-empt the Prime Minister's Srinagar Conference, Mirwaiz refused to relate the two. 'There is no connection between the two. We are trying for a broader Kashmir consensus. It is a kind of intra-Kashmir dialogue and an attempt to get everybody on board,' he said. Describing his visit to Pakistan as 'a great success', he said for the first time in four visits in the last 10 months, he had a meeting with the senior leadership of Pak Jamaat-I-Islami, a support base of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani. 'I had a detailed interaction with the Jamaat leadership at the party's Lahore headquarters. I discussed the ideas of demilitarisation and self-governance for Kashmir and tried to clear their doubts,' he said, adding he was assured of a constructive response. 'I told them we should rise above party politics, and discuss an acceptable way out for Kashmir'. Among the JI leaders he met was the daughter of the Pak Jamaat chief Qazi Hussain Ahmad. She is an MP of the Muttahida Majlis Ammal, a group of Pakistan's hardline religious organisations. The Hurriyat, Mirwaiz said, would launch a fresh public mobilisation drive in Jammu, as part of its efforts to rally the pre-dominantly Hindu population of the province around the peace process. 'Last time, we held a public rally in Jammu city. This time we will move to the hinterland,' he said. There will be Hurriyat public rallies in Rajouri and Poonch, two border districts hit by militancy.


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