September 2007 News

Mirwaiz Unlikely To Attend OIC Meet

16 September 2007
The Hindu

Srinagar: The head of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, may not be able to attend the meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), to be held in New York from September 26. He has not participated in the two-day conference on India-U.S. relations being organised by the former U.S. Defence Secretary, Stephen S. Cohen, in Florida from Saturday. The Mirwaiz told The Hindu that he had applied for a fresh passport, but was yet to get any response from the Regional Passport Officer. 'I applied for the travel document four months, ago but it has not been issued,' said the Mirwaiz. His passport was impounded in the early 1990s but it was released later. 'This time I think the government is not interested in releasing the documents. Otherwise, this should have come by now as they knew I had to travel to attend a conference in Florida which began yesterday [Saturday],' he said. 'The Government of India should not have stopped me from visiting abroad as it is against the fundamental rights and I would have only put forth my views on resolution of the Kashmir issue which are known to everyone,' he said. Besides the OIC, the Mirwaiz has been invited by the Pugwash Conference for a meeting in Italy and to the third International Conference on Kashmir organised by the London-based Justice Foundation. The Mirwaiz expressed concern at New Delhi's approach to the Kashmir dialogue process. 'The last meeting we had with the Prime Minister was in May 2006 and after that there is no effort from the government to further it.' He said the Hurriyat Conference had gone against the tide to hold a dialogue with New Delhi, but 'they abandoned it half way, which makes it amply clear that they are neither serious nor sincere'. The Mirwaiz, returned to Srinagar last week after holding meetings with diplomats of various countries, including the U.S., Germany and the U.K. The Hurriyat chairman said that the situation in Pakistan was disturbing for the people in Kashmir. 'Pakistan is a party to the dispute and any situation prevailing there has an impact here.' he said. 'Closer and friendly relations between India and Pakistan are vital for ensuring peace in the region and finding an amicable solution to Kashmir.'


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