‘Our Goal: Delhi-Srinagar Pact, Pak On Board’

17 November 2009
The Indian Express
Riyaz Wani

Srinagar: A New Delhi-Srinagar agreement with Pakistan on board is one of the key objectives of the ongoing Track II initiatives between India and Pakistan and the “quiet” dialogue between the Centre and Hurriyat, says Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Speaking to The Indian Express at his residence here today, Mirwaiz, who held talks with Pakistan High Commissioner Shahid Malik on Sunday, said there was forward movement on many fronts which could, hopefully, lead to a “substantive” outcome. “A lot is happening. Work is going on...on many possible solutions, one of which is an agreement between New Delhi and Srinagar with Pakistan’s blessings,” Mirwaiz said. India and Pakistan have had two rounds of meetings in Bangkok in the past three weeks - the dialogue was held between former Pakistan High Commissioner Aziz Ahmed Khan and former RAW chief A S Dullat. However, Mirwaiz said the basic paradigm of the engagement is inspired by former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s four-point proposal for an acceptable solution to Kashmir. “India is not ready for the joint-management part of the proposals which talk about joint control of foreign affairs, currency and communications in Kashmir,” Mirwaiz said. “There’s a broader agreement on the other aspects of this settlement model”. Mirwaiz said that on Kashmir the new dispensation in Islamabad hasn’t departed markedly from the approach adopted by Musharraf’s government. He said the thrust was on finding an interim political solution that can then be revisited and built upon after a period of five to 10 years. As for a Delhi-Srinagar agreement, Mirwaiz refused to draw an analogy with the 1975 accord between the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and National Conference leader Sheikh Abdullah. That agreement didn’t have Pakistan’s approval. “We need something that has every party on board. Pakistan is part of the external dimension of the issue and, therefore, has to be in the loop,” Mirwaiz said. He said the Hurriyat will travel to Pakistan after Eid to consult the government there. “We are being invited by the Pakistan government for our input in the process,” he said. When asked if Hurriyat will talk to New Delhi, Mirwaiz said that he would wait for back channels to throw up something substantive before entering into a public dialogue with the Centre. Former Hurriyat chairman Abdul Gani Bhat has been camping in Delhi for the past 10 days. He, Mirwaiz said, has maintained “communication” with “people from the government.” Bhat also held two meetings with Pak High Commissioner Malik. On forging a broad political alliance between mainstream and separatist parties in the Valley, Mirwaiz said there was no immediate need for it. “If there is a movement on a Kashmir resolution, the PDP and NC will come on board,” Mirwaiz said. The Hurriyat chairman said the new momentum in back-channel engagements is also because the US is pushing for movement in Kashmir to address Pakistan concerns. “There are several geo-political factors that are in play and persuading New Delhi to act,” Mirwaiz said. Meanwhile, the hardline Hurriyat faction led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani has unleashed a blistering tirade against what it calls Mirwaiz’s “accommodating approach”. In recent days, several seminars were organised by hardliners in Srinagar warning against any “compromise” on Kashmir.