Monday, January 1, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Hizb insists on permit to all

ISLAMABAD, Dec 31 (PTI) — Pro-Pakistan Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit has insisted that if all seven executive council members of the Hurriyat Conference do not travel to Pakistan, it will be an “exercise in futility”.

“If some leaders are allowed and some are barred (from travelling to Pakistan), it will create doubts about the Hurriyat. Rather, it can create an impression that the alliance is divided into moderate and extremist people,” Hizb supreme commander Syed Salahuddin said in an interview to Dawn.

He said the Hurriyat Conference leaders “must show farsightedness and diplomatic efficiency to rend the impression that New Delhi and not they themselves are constituting their delegation for Pakistan.”

Salahuddin’s remarks came in the wake of reports that the travelling documents to Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a hardliner in the alliance, are not being issued by New Delhi.

“I will advise the Hurriyat leaders to avoid a visit to Pakistan unless all of them are allowed to travel. And if all of them get permission, then they should first sit together and evolve an agenda,” Salahuddin said.

He said Pakistan was “already behind the Kashmiris and has been extending all-out political, moral and diplomatic support to them all along the past 53 years”.

“But the matter that needs to be settled with New Delhi is how sincere and serious it is in resolving the festering issue,” he said, adding “if the Hurriyat does not get any assurance from the Indian Government before hand, then their journey will prove an exercise in futility.”

The Hizb commander said the Hurriyat leaders “cannot suggest” to the militants to respect the ceasefire “because it does not have any mandate for that”.

“The ceasefire is worthless unless India makes a categorical declaration that Kashmir is a disputed territory and it is ready to resolve it through meaningful tripartite talks,” he said.

“Rather, we would intensify and stretch them (security forces),” he said.

The ceasefire was not a pre-requisite for the resolution of the Kashmir issue through “meaningful” talks, Salahuddin said, citing examples of Afghanistan, the northern Ireland and Vietnam where, according to him, talks and the militancy ran simultaneously.

“Dialogue is a separate process and (militant) actions are a separate issue,” he said.

Salahuddin said the militants were not interested in holding talks “by themselves. But they want to ensure that the negotiators (from the Kashmiris’ side) must enjoy their trust.”

“The negotiators stand should reflect the aspirations of the people of Kashmir. They would not be allowed to take any short cut,” he said, adding the militants had “full rights to monitor” the talks. 


Team our prerogative: Mirwaiz

SRINAGAR, Dec 31 (PTI) — Senior Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq today said the Centre should issue passports to the seven executive council members of the conglomerate and leave composition of the team, which is to visit Pakistan for talks with the militant leadership, to Hurriyat.

‘‘It is our headache who will go and who will not go,’’ Mirwaiz told a foreign radio network, adding ‘‘nobody has a right to decide on our behalf.’’

The Hurriyat Conference, a conglomerate of 23 separatist outfits, has sought the Centre’s permission to visit Pakistan for talks with the militant leadership and the establishment there as a follow-up to Vajpayee government’s unilateral ceasefire.

Mirwaiz said ‘‘deliberate leaks’’ to the media about who and how many of its executive council members would be permitted to visit Pakistan was aimed at ‘‘creating division’’ within the conglomerate.

‘‘The reports (of issuing passports to selective members) is aimed at engineering defection in our ranks by raking up the issue of so-called hardliners and so-called moderates.’’

Echoing similar views, another Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Lone said the proposed visit of Hurriyat leaders was aimed at convincing militant groups and powers that influence them to respond positively to the ceasefire.

‘‘Militants should give a positive response to the ceasefire to prevent New Delhi from putting the condition of ending cross-border terrorism for talks,’’ he said.

Lone, who returned from Pakistan recently, said the Centre had tried to open channels with the Hurriyat leadership immediately after the release of Hurriyat leaders from jail.

To a question, he said the decision to visit Pakistan was the Hurriyat’s own and did not have the ‘‘advance approval’’ of the Indian Government.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah has said in Jammu that Pakistan’s claim of withdrawing its troops from the Line of Control (LoC) was false.

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