China Has Stake In S Asia Peace: Mirwaiz

20 November 2009
The Indian Express
Riyaz Wani

Srinagar: A day after revealing that he was visiting China, Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday said China had a stake in peace in South Asia as part of Kashmir was under its control. Adressing the Friday congregation at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid, Mirwaiz said that while he didn’t consider China a party to the dispute, the country, by virtue of its global profile, had a role in the stability of South Asia, and together with the US could facilitate resolution of Kashmir dispute. Mirwaiz also welcomed the joint statement of President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing in which the two leaders pledged their support for “improvement and growth of relations between India and Pakistan”. Besides, Mirwaiz said, China was linked to Kashmir dispute because parts of the state were under Chinese control. ”This has given China a role in the settlement of Kashmir,” Mirwaiz said. Separatists had hailed China’s move to issue stapled visas to Kashmiris visiting that country. Mirwaiz had on Thursday revealed that he was visiting China later this year on the invitation of Chinese NGO Han Foundation to talk about issues of Muslims. Mirwaiz, sources said, is likely to meet diplomats and administrators in Beijing “to give them his perspective on the situation in Kashmir”. In past, Mirwaiz has talked of a role for China in settlement of Kashmir dispute. He had called for a “joint contact group” on Kashmir, comprising India, China and Pakistan. Though Mirwaiz said his visit would not have a “government angle” to it, this is the first time any Kashmiri separatist would be visiting China. So far, there has never been any contact between Chinese embassy in New Delhi and the separatists in Kashmir. However, separatists have been in contact with officials of US and UK embassies and have also received high profile delegations from European Union and other countries. In recent months, Mirwaiz has actively participated in the ongoing back channel efforts to resolve Kashmir issue. During his recent visit to New York to attend the OIC’s Contact Group on Kashmir, Mirwaiz claimed to have met several senior state department officials who assured him of an “ongoing effort for a forward movement on Kashmir”.