Back-channel Talks With India, Pak On: Mirwaiz

6 October 2009
Daily News & Analysis

Srinagar: Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Tuesday said that back-channel contacts have been opened to resume talks for the resolution of the Kashmir issue. He also called for allowing the special envoy for Kashmir, appointed by the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), to visit Srinagar and help bridge the divide between India and Pakistan. In his first media interaction since attending an OIC conference in New York, the Hurriyat chairman said time has come for the separatist leadership to take the initiative and restart dialogue with New Delhi and Islamabad. 'We should not depend on India and Pakistan. It is Kashmiris who are suffering. We want to hold talks with Delhi and Islamabad to resolve the Kashmir issue. Hurriyat be a bridge to bring both countries closer,' said Mirwaiz. 'Back channels have always been open with New Delhi and Islamabad. In the past month, considerable progress has been made to restart dialogue,' he said. However, Mirwaiz hastened to add that though they are keen to talk to Delhi, they are not in a hurry. 'We want to do our homework before starting talks. Plus we want to have a consensus among separatist leaders because the time has come to shun egos and work to find a lasting solution to the Kashmir issue,' he said. The moderate Hurriyat leader also tried to clear the air about the OIC's stand, 'OIC is a second biggest forum after UN. It should not either be seen seen as an anti-India or pro-Pak forum. They want to be a play a role in bringing India and Pakistan closer and help restart dialogue,' he said. Mirwaiz urged Delhi to come out of the 'denial mode' and allow the special envoy to visit J&K. The Hurriyat chief said that Kashmir is again on the global agenda and New Delhi's attempt to tag it with terrorism has failed. 'Everyone, be it the OIC or EU or US state department is keen to see that Kashmir is resolved for peace in south Asia,' he said.