Sunday, January 14, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

NC advocates direct talks
Hurriyat not representative body

From M.L. Kak
Tribune News Service

JAMMU, Jan 13 — The National Conference is totally opposed to any plan of encouraging the All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) to hold talks with those who matter in Pakistan on the plea that the APHC is not a representative body.

The Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, who is also president of the ruling National Conference, has conveyed to the Union Government in clear terms that he doubted the usefulness of the Hurriyat delegation to Pakistan for sorting out problems in Kashmir. Instead Dr Abdullah has favoured direct talks between Delhi and Islamabad.

Dr Abdullah has supported the idea of direct parleys between Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee and the Pakistan Chief Executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf. He has said the resumption of Indo-Pak talks could be purposeful in restoring peace to the region.

He said Kashmir was a part of India and Mr Vajpayee could represent “us” in the talks with Pakistan’s military ruler. He has at the same time made it clear that ‘no authority, even the Prime Minister, can ever afford to think of parting with an inch of land in Kashmir.”

Dr Abdullah’s known opposition to the APHC being given recognition by persuading it to visit Pakistan to hold talks is the result of his strong opinion that the Hurriyat leaders “lack any mass support.” On many occasions in the past the Chief Minister has treated the APHC as an organisation that draws strength from the guns of the militants. He has conveyed to Delhi that once the support of the militants is no longer available the APHC “will fall like a pack of cards.”

While questioning the legitimacy of the APHC delegation being sent to Pakistan, Dr Abdullah has said since these separatist leaders were in regular touch with Pak Embassy officials in Delhi and others on phone there was nothing new for them to talk about when the team lands in Pakistan. The APHC team will have nothing to discuss which could restore peace to the region.

Dr Abdullah has suggested to the Centre to take up the Kashmir turmoil directly with Pakistan because if any one is trying to sabotage the peace process it is the Pakistan trained militants. And to sustain the level of violence Islamabad and its agencies continued to push into Jammu and Kashmir groups of foreign mercenaries. He has urged the Centre to take steps to ensure that acts of violence are stopped. Dr Abdullah is worried over the way his partymen are being targeted by Pakistan trained militants. These militants continue to provoke the security forces by carrying out grenade and IED explosions on their camps and convoys.

Another suggestion given by him to the central government leaders is that without forcing the Pakistan Government to stop violence peace in Kashmir is a distant dream. He has stated that after Islamabad failed to annex Kashmir through three wars it launched a proxy war and during the past 12 years caused death and destruction in the state. In this context he has also cautioned the Centre against supporting those who were demanding division of the state. He has said the trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir may ultimately lead to the disintegration of India on the pattern of the USSR.


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