Wednesday, August 2, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Talks with Hizb-ul negotiator today
Tribune News Service and UNI

SRINAGAR, Aug 1 — A senior Union Home Ministry official is arriving here tomorrow for preliminary talks with the Hizbul Mujahideen negotiator, Mr Fazal Haq Qureshi.

A senior Home Ministry official contacted Mr Haq on the telephone from Delhi today and informed him of his visit to the valley tomorrow to hold discussions. The Hizbul Mujahideen on Monday asked the Government of India to start talks with the outfit through Mr Qureshi. The outfit had sought the assistance and cooperation of Mr Fazal Haq Qureshi following its announcement of a unilateral ceasefire on July 24.

A statement issued by the People Political Front (PPF), headed by Mr Fazal Haq Qureshi, here today assured that the Front would extend its utmost cooperation on the issue. “The All Party Hurriyat Conference and other people associated with the movement would also be taken into confidence”, before initiating any dialogue, the statement said. This decision was taken at a meeting of the PPF, which discussed the role of Mr Fazal Haq Qureshi in the situation arising out of the ceasefire decision by the Hizbul Mujahideen, the statement said. It would also “try to find out basis of negotiations on the issue”, the spokesman said.

Earlier, Mr Qureshi had accepted the Hizb offer for his party’s stand on resolving the Kashmir issue on a comprehensive basis. He told TNS that details and modalities of talks would be discussed with the Hizb leadership before starting final round of discussion. He said these details and modalities were yet to be discussed. “Unless a brief is prepared taking into confidence all the leaders, talks cannot be held”, Mr Qureshi told TNS.

Mr Qureshi, 56, has been jailed several times since his association with Al-Fateh Force, which shot him into prominence in the seventies. He served the last jail term of over four years before his release in 1993. Mr Qureshi constituted the People’s Political Front (PPF) in 1993. He was one of the founder members of the separatist People’s League, in the seventies.

In a resolution adopted after a day-long convention here last evening, the PDP demanded immediate release of all political prisoners, stoppage of human rights violations and military operations and compensation to families of those who have been killed in custody or fake encounters. It also demanded compensation to the detenues who have been released by courts and have not been convicted and a generous scheme for the relief and rehabilitation of the victims of violence, particularly orphaned children and widows.

It said the ceasefire announced by the Hizbul Mujahideen has opened a “window of opportunity” to find a negotiated settlement of the Kashmir problem.

“If it takes courage to make war, it takes even greater courage to make peace”, the resolution said. “We believe this decision of the Hizbul Mujahideen is motivated by its concern for the welfare of Kashmiris”.

It said the high decision needs to be appreciated and utilised as a remarkable act of courage rather than condemned or exploited as a desperate sign of cowardice.

It said an overwhelming majority of the people of the state had welcomed the ceasefire announcement.

It said it was also heartening that on the whole the Government of India had responded to the Hizbul offer in a “positive and constructive” manner.

“We call upon all the concerned parties to immediately engage in meaningful and sincere negotiations to achieve their stated shared goal”.

The resolution called upon all the political parties of the state, particularly the ruling National Conference, to extend whole-hearted support to the proposed peace process.

“We have reasonable apprehension that agencies and groups who have developed vested interest in the ongoing militancy in Kashmir, will try to subvert the peace process,” it cautioned.

It said “no political or economic process can succeed unless people are given a sense of security and honour and their democratic rights are respected and enforced.”

The Kashmir problem has a historical genesis, which goes back to partition of the country, the resolution said and added that what has compounded his problem within the state was the continuous and callous subversion of all democratic institutions and practices.

“We, therefore, call upon the state and Central governments to disband the Special Operation Group of Jammu and Kashmir Police, disarm all surrendered militants particularly “Ikhwans” and stop the practice of extending covert financial and political support to these disruptive elements and forces and political support to these disruptive elements and forces who have brought nothing except death and destruction, shame and guilt.

The resolution said the Government of India should simultaneously devise the implement a generous and comprehensive package for the economic and industrial rehabilitation of the state.

It must also consider providing employment to at least one person per family, give adequate representation to the state subjects in Central departments and organisations, give general tax holiday for at least five years and build infrastructure in the state for the growth of industry, communication and tourism, the resolution said.

The resolution described the Kashmiri Pandits as an “integral part of our history and culture.”

The PDP said it sincerely hoped that the proposed negotiations would also take into account the legitimate interests and concerns of the Kashmiri Pandits. “We call upon the Pandit community to extend their full moral support to the peace process so that conditions can be created in which they return to their birthplace with a sense of security and honour.”


Hizbul should contact govt for talks
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Aug 1 — The government would like the Hizbul Mujahideen leadership to establish contact with the Union Home Secretary to discuss modalities necessary for initiating a dialogue and preparing the ground for restoration of peace in Jammu and Kashmir, the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr Vidyasagar Rao, informed Lok Sabha today.

"Having welcomed the move towards peace made by a senior Hizbul Mujahideen leader during a press conference on July 24 and having taken cognisance of the support extended to the peace initiative by the people of Jammu and Kashmir, as also recognising the need for restoration of peace, the government would like the Hizbul leadership to come forward and establish contact with the Union Home Secretary," Mr Rao said.

The minister replied in the negative to the question whether any talks had been held among the Union Government, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, the people of state and the leaders of the militant groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir. "No such talks have been held," he said.

Ex gratia payment: To another question, Mr Rao informed that since 1990 the Jammu and Kashmir government had paid an ex gratia relief at the rate of Rs 1 lakh each to the next of kin of 8,822 civilians killed in militant attacks.

A total of Rs 225.86 crore ex gratia had been disbursed by the Jammu and Kashmir Government to the next of kin of those killed and injured in terrorist attacks.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |