Talks should begin in Valley, says Mirwaiz: APHC delegation arrives

21 June 2008
The Dawn

Lahore: All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has proposed that the dialogue on Kashmir should begin in Kashmir. “The heads of both Pakistan and India should hold one session each at Srinagar and Muzaffarabad,” he said at a news conference at Lahore airport on Saturday evening. Mirwaiz is heading a three-member delegation to Pakistan on the invitation of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. During their three-day stay, Mirwaiz and APHC executive members, Abdul Ghani Bhat and Bilal Ghani Lone, would meet leaders of all political parties in Pakistan, besides attempting to have a word with the leadership of Azad Kashmir so that concrete measures could be taken for Kashmir solution. “The main purpose of our visit is to reiterate our stance that without involving Kashmiris of both sides in dialogue, the issue could not be resolved and no durable solution could be reached. Kashmir is not a territorial or border area issue. It involves lives of 13,000,000 Kashmiris,” argued the APHC chairman. “We are not against trade or exchange of cultural troupes and delegations between India and Pakistan. But isn’t strange that when innocent people are being killed, the two states are talking about trade and culture. “Dialogue for the sake of dialogue couldn’t be result-oriented. We have always suggested that Kashmir should be the central point on the agenda of dialogue between the two countries that had never been. That is why the only outcome of dialogue had been launch of bus service between Muzaffarabad and Srinagar.” “Though there is calm across the Line of Control and neither a Pakistani nor an Indian soldier is being killed now-a-days, but still the common Kashmiri is being martyred. Human rights conditions in Jammu and Kashmir are alarming. There is tension in Jammu and Kashmir, especially after the discovery of 940 graves of unknown people in the Oari area. During the last 18 years, some 9500 Kashmiri youth have gone missing,” maintained Mirwaiz. Thanking the new Pakistan government for inviting them, Mirwaiz said Pakistan had always supported the Kashmir cause.