Thursday, February 10, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Maulvi Umar meets US official
From Satish Misra
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Feb 9 — Former Hurriyat Chairman Maulvi Umar Farooq has urged US President Bill Clinton to spare some time from his busy schedule to meet a delegation of the All Party Hurriyat Conference during his stay in India next month.

Maulvi Farooq made this plea through the US Embassy in New Delhi when he had a meeting with a top embassy official this week, the sources said.

Maulvi Farooq, who is officiating as the APHC Chairman in absence of Mr S.A.S. Gillani who along with 13 other Hurriyat leaders are in detention in Jodhpur jail, has been camping in the capital for the past few days.

While the former Hurriyat Chairman had made a request to see the US Ambassador, Mr Richard F. Celeste, but had to meet another diplomat as Mr Celeste is away to Washington for official business.

The Kashmir Awareness Bureau, when asked, feigned ignorance about Maulvi Farooq’s meeting with the US diplomat.

The US Embassy, when contacted, declined to say anything about the meeting saying that “it is our policy not to offer comments”.

The Hurriyat camp is facing a serious dilemma as its leaders in jail are for a more aggressive approach but Maulvi Farooq is said to be of the view that the solution to the Kashmir issue was possible only through the help of the western democracies.

While Islamabad has asked the Hurriyat leaders to step up pressure on the Indian Government before the US President’s visit to India in March, Maulvi Farooq is said to be more keen on strengthening his rapport with the diplomatic missions here.

Even the expatriate Kashmiri community in the USA has been asking the Hurriyat leaders to strengthen the organisation’s democratic credibility and develop ties with the western diplomatic missions.

Some of the expatriate leaders have been urging with the US Administration that Mr Clinton should give some time to the Hurriyat leaders so that they could brief him about the ground realities prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir.

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