Monday, August 7, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Hizb presses for tripartite talks
Clears stand on deadline

ISLAMABAD, Aug 6 (PTI) — Militant outfit the Hizbul Mujahideen today asked India to get into tripartite talks to resolve Kashmir issue, saying New Delhi should not waste the “golden opportunity” provided by its declaration of unilateral ceasefire.

“If India does not enter into tripartite talks and the situation gets further worse, the entire responsibility will rest with New Delhi,” chief of the group Syed Salahuddin said in a statement here.

The Kashmir issue is basically tripartite and the parleys can neither make progress nor prove useful in the absence of either side, the Hizbul chief added.

Clarifying his stand on fixing August 8 as the deadline for expiry of ceasefire in Kashmir, he said “the deadline is not the result of any misunderstanding. Rather it has been set keeping in view the traditional stubbornness and delaying tactics of India”.

Meanwhile, another militant outfit the Al-Badar Mujahideen yesterday termed the Hizbul’s negotiations with the Indian government as meaningless.

Al-Badar chief Bakht Zamin Khan told a news conference in Karachi that the talks were “meaningless because they were being held between one group and the Indian government which is not ready to accede to tripartite talks involving Pakistan.”

In Srinagar, the Hizbul Mujahideen said it wanted to retain weapons for their safety and security but was determined to maintain the ceasefire.

This was conveyed by Hizb commanders to Union Home Secretary Kamal Pande during the first round of talks on Thursday, Fazal Haq Qureshi, mediator between the Hizbul Mujahideen and government, told a local newspaper.

“We want to retain the weapons for our safety and security but we will not violate the ceasefire,” the Hizbul told the Home Ministry officials, according to Qureshi.

Qureshi said there was no question of talks within the Indian Constitution, according to the paper.

There were no pre-conditions for the dialogue and everything had to be decided across the table, he said.

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