Monday, July 9, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

PM to brief all-party meeting today
Outline strategy for summit: Cong
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 8
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee will take leaders of different political parties into confidence over the Indo-Pak summit at Agra this week when he interacts with them at the all-party meeting tomorrow.

Ahead of tomorrow’s all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, the opposition parties today asked the government to clarify its stand on the Hurriyat and outline its strategy for the Indo-Pak summit in the light of the latest anti-India tirade by Pakistan.

Cautioning the government against Pakistan’s insistence on involving the Hurriyat in Indo-Pak parleys, the Congress today made it clear that there was no room for making it tripartite.

The meeting, scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Prime Minister’s residence, will be attended by Cabinet Ministers, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and at least 40 representatives of the main political parties.

The meeting, designed to be a two-way interaction, will not only make an effort to ascertain the views of political leaders on different dimensions of the summit but will also apprise them about the Government’s view on the summit.

The Prime Minister decided to convene the all-party meeting five days before the summit so that no discordant note came out before he met Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on July 14.

Already almost all major political parties have already endorsed Mr Vajpayee’s initiative of inviting General Musharraf for talks.

The principal opposition party, the Congress, has already taken a positive view of the summit saying that any initiative for the dialogue was welcome. The Left parties, similarly, have also supported talks. The Samajwadi Party of former Defence Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav has not lagged behind other major parties in giving support to the move.

While Mr Yadav has conveyed to the Prime Minister his support to talks with Pakistan, publicly he struck a strident note today for gaining a point or two for the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

He accused the NDA government of approaching the Indo-Pak summit in a “hush-hush manner”.

While he had praise for Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf for putting forth his stand openly, he had only negative words for Mr Vajpayee, conveniently forgetting that the Prime Minister has convened an all-party meeting tomorrow.

All constituents of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are behind Mr Vajpayee and thus the Prime Minister will meet General Musharraf with full confidence with the nation solidly standing behind him.

Mr Vajpayee has already met all former Prime Ministers to rope in their views in preparing for the summit.

Today, Mr Vajpayee had a long meeting with the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister who returned here last night after a five-week European trip.

Dr Abdullah, who was in Europe to be with his wife, was sent a message by the Prime Minister to come back for important discussions on the entire gamut of issues, including Kashmir, where his line of thinking will carry significance.

Meanwhile, the proposed visit of the Director General Military Operations, Lt-Gen G.S. Sihota, to Pakistan to discuss issues vital to peace and tranquillity along the Line of Control (LoC), the International border and the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) with his counterpart, Maj-Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani is expected to materialise in the next few days before the summit.

The two sides are expected to discuss proposals that could lead to an effective mechanism to check infiltration routes for foreign missionaries and other militant groups into India. The Siachen glacier, where maintaining status quo is proving to be a heavy toll for both sides, is also expected to be discussed by the two DGMOs.

Meanwhile, Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Vijay Nambiar has arrived here for consultations with leaders as well as officials of the Ministry of External Affairs.

His assessment will be very crucial for summit preparations. Mr Nambiar had conveyed India’s reservations to the Pakistani authorities on inviting Hurriyat leaders to meet General Musharraf.

The Indian High Commissioner, who is expected to meet External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, will return to Islamabad and come again before General Musharraf arrives here.Back


Hurriyat row not to affect summit: Pak

Islamabad, July 8
Pakistan has ruled out the possibility of the forthcoming Indo-Pak summit being cancelled due to differences with India over Islamabad’s invitation to Hurriyat leaders to a reception for President Pervez Musharraf in New Delhi, saying that both countries were not prepared to hold the summit a “hostage” to the controversy.

“A lot has gone into the preparation of the summit, and a lot is at stake for both sides. We do acknowledge the centrality of the Kashmiris to the final solution to the Kashmir problem. However there is no evidence, either from our side or from India, that the meeting between the two leaders can be held hostage to this controversy,” an official was quoted as saying in a media report here today.

Stating that the success of the summit was the prime concern for Pakistan, the official said “the perception that the Musharraf-Vajpayee meeting was in danger of being cancelled over the Hurriyat controversy was baseless.”

Referring to the controversy, the official told the daily, Dawn, that “Islamabad is keen that the meeting between President Musharraf with Hurriyat leaders in Delhi takes place, but a successful summit with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee is at present its prime concern”.

The official denied that at any stage Pakistan intended to deliberately score a point against India by extending an invitation to the Hurriyat leaders.

“Let us get our facts right. The invitation to the Hurriyat leaders is for a meeting over tea. It is not a structured dialogue where issues will be debated methodically,” he said.

The official said, “President Musharraf has returned a courtesy of writing to the Hurriyat leaders for he had received a letter from them. Now India is the host country.

We hope that it will play a good host, but if it chooses not to, the summit meeting will still take place”.

The official termed the Hurriyat criticism that Pakistan had ditched them as “senseless”, saying that “we have stood by them through thick and thin. There is no such thing as anyone being ditched”.

The clarification by the Pakistan official followed Friday’s meeting between Indian High Commissioner to Islamabad Vijay K. Nambiar and Pakistan Foreign Secretary Inamul Haq during which the Indian envoy is reported to have reiterated India’s objections that the invitation to Hurriyat leaders could have a negative fallout on the summit.

However, with the controversy assuming serious overtones, Pakistan appears to be putting the onus on India to defuse the crisis. PTIBack

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |