Friday, April 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Involve Pak, insists Hurriyat
Farooq calls it Kashmiris’ betrayal
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, April 26
Without rejecting the Centre’s offer for talks for restoration of peace in Jammu and Kashmir, the Hurriyat Conference today set conditions for entering into a dialogue with the Central Government.

The Hurriyat Conference wants to make it clear that tripartite talks are the basis of all negotiations to resolve the Kashmir dispute”, a statement read out by the Hurriyat Chairman, Mr Abdul Ghani Bhat, at the end of the Executive Committee meeting here said.

“Unless a comprehensive dialogue based on an honorable, judicious and everlasting solution of Kashmir is started, peace cannot be restored and any such process will be unrealistic”, the statement said.

Referring to the invitation letter of the Centre’s representative, Mr K. C. Pant, Prof Bhat said it did not address the basic demands. He termed it as “ambiguous”. He criticised the Centre for defining the problem as an internal issue and inviting a large number of organisations, groups and individuals. This would not lead to the resolution of the Kashmir issue, he opined.

Replying questions, the APHC Chairman said its proposal to depute a team of Hurriyat leaders to Pakistan was a proper one that would have led to resolution of the Kashmir problem. Prior to any talks with the Central Government, it was necessary for the Hurriyat leaders to hold negotiations with the Pakistan leadership, leaders of “azad Kashmir” (PoK) and militant leaders there.

Claiming that the Hurriyat Conference was the only representative party of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Prof Bhat said the talks proposal had been rejected as Hurriyat leaders had not been allowed to visit Pakistan. This showed the Government of India was not sincere in its efforts to resolve the issue. He urged India “to accept basic facts and make way for a meaningful dialogue”.

Those who attended the meeting of the Executive Committee today included its Chairman, Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat, Jamaat-e-Islami leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mr Abdul Ghani Lone and Moulvi Abbas Ansari, Sheikh Abdul Aziz of the People’s League, who is in Pakistan, was represented by his senior colleague Bashir Ahmad Tota, while JKLF leader Mohammad Yasin Malik, at present in the USA, was represented by Mr Bashir Ahmad Bhat. Former Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also attended the meeting.

Today’s meeting was the fourth round of deliberations by the Hurriyat Conference leadership on the issue of talks offer by the Centre’s representative. Mr Pant’s invitation was received by the Hurriyat Conference early last week when the APHC Executive held its first meeting to deliberate on the issue.

New Delhi: In his first reaction to the All-Party Hurriyat Conference’s (APHC) rejection of the Centre’s offer of talks, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said today that the separatist alliance had betrayed the people of the state at the behest of their mentors across the border.

“However, the peace process will continue as the APHC is not the sole representative of the people of the state, who have been yearning for peace,” Dr Abdullah told reporters after the inauguration of a health centre here.

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