Tuesday, March 13, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Lone to meet Annan on APHC’s behalf
Tribune News Service and Agencies

Srinagar, March 12
The separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) here today nominated senior executive member, Abdul Ghani Lone, to visit New Delhi and find ways to have a meeting with the visiting UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The Peoples Conference leader, Abdul Ghani Lone would convey to the UN Secretary-General “the real aspirations of the people of Kashmir and also the violation of human rights”. This was stated by a spokesman of the Hurriyat Conference after a day-long meeting of the senior executive members of the APHC at its Rajbagh headquarters today. Only five of the seven top executive members attended the meeting. Senior Jamaat-e-Islami leader and former APHC chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, did not attend the meeting as he was not invited to attend the deliberations. JKLF leader Mohammad Yasin Malik is already in the USA where he is undergoing treatment.

The APHC executive also discussed in detail the recent statement of the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, in which he had on Wednesday last stated in the Rajya Sabha that the Centre would hold talks with any group in Kashmir as part of an initiation of peace process in the trouble-torn state. Taking exception to Mr Advani’s statement that Hurriyat leaders would not play any mediatory role in any talks between India and Pakistan on Kashmir issue. The APHC spokesman said that since Kashmiris were the basic party to the dispute there was no question of their playing a mediatory role. He reaffirmed that the Hurriyat Conference had not proposed to visit Pakistan for playing a mediatory role but for holding talks with the Pakistan leadership for the Kashmiris were a basic party to the dispute”. There was a delay in issuing the travel documents by the Central Government which hampered the peace move, the spokesman said.

Senior Jamaat leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s non-inclusion in today’s meeting has become as a surprise in many quarters here, for his different posture on the Kashmir issue following the unilateral ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir since November 28 last. On the other hand, the APHC had described the move as a positive step towards the solution of Kashmir with the beginning of a peace process. Referring to the issues within the Hurriyat Conference, covertly related to differences with Geelani, the spokesman said that such issues would be resolved amicably.

The Hurriyat Conference today decided to depute its senior member Abdul Ghani Lone, considered a moderate, to New Delhi to explore possibilities of a meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan his visit to the union Capital.

The conglomerate of 23 separatist groups, whose Executive Council met here today to discuss Mr Annan’s statement ruling out implementation of UN resolutions for resolving the Kashmir issue, said Lone been asked to seek a meeting with the Secretary-General during his stay in New Delhi.

On Mr Advani’s statement, the Hurriyat said the conglomerate had offered to visit Pakistan not as a mediator. “But being the basic party to the Kashmir issue, the Hurriyat has taken the step to initiate the process of dialogue”, it said.


Hurriyat asks for Geelani’s replacement

Srinagar, March 12
The All-Party Hurriyat Conference has asked its constituent, Jamaat-e-Islami, to nominate someone other than Syed Ali Shah Geelani as its representative in the separatist alliance.

“However, the Jamaat has turned down the demand,” Mr Geelani, former chairman of the party, said at a press conference today.

Mr Geelani, who was not invited for today’s crucial meeting of the executive committee of the Hurriyat, said that a letter demanding a replacement for him was received by the Jamaat Amir but he turned down the request. He said the decision to continue with him was endorsed by the Majlis-e-Shoura, highest decision making body of the Jamaat.

When asked why he, as a member of the executive council of Hurriyat, was not invited for today’s meeting, Mr Geelani said this question could be answered better by the Hurriyat chairman. After the snub of his party’s highest decision making body which dismissed his contention that Kashmir was a religious issue Mr Geelani today modified his stand a bit and said Kashmir was a political issue but since only Muslims were fighting and making sacrifices since 1947 it had become religious.

When asked to comment on the UN Secretary-General’s remarks that United Nations resolution on Kashmir could not be implemented, Mr Geelani said it was the duty of the world body to see who was responsible for non-implementation of these resolutions. UNI

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