'Indo-Pak Talks Need Kashmiris' Input'

27 March 2015
The Asian Age

Srinagar: Kashmir's chief Muslim cleric and chairman of his faction of the separatist Hurriyat Conference alliance, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, on Friday coined a new slogan to seek representation of the people of the state in peace talks between India and Pakistan. 'No solution without self-representation', he yelled while speaking from the rostrum of Srinagar's historic Jamia Masjid. This was his first customary sermon, as the Mirwaiz, delivered during the Friday congregation here on returning from New Delhi, where he attended a Pakistan Day function and also had closed door meetings with the neighbouring country's high commissioner to India, Abdul Basit. Elaborating further, the Mirwaiz said Kashmir was not a land dispute between India and Pakistan but 'an issue dealing with the basic right of determining the political dispensation of more than 12 million of its inhabitants, living on both sides of the ceasefire line, whose fate is hanging in balance for the past seventy years and who are living in constant uncertainty, distress and oppression'.