Tuesday, July 10, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Kashmir not sole issue: PM
Hurriyat should have no role: Oppn
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 9
With support coming from the entire political spectrum of the country at the three-hour long all-party meeting, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, said all issues concerning bilateral relations, including Kashmir, would be discussed with the Pakistan President, General Pervez Musharraf, at Agra this week.

“At the forthcoming summit meeting, we will discuss all issues concerning bilateral relations including Jammu and Kashmir”, the Prime Minister told the all-party meeting and added that all discussions would be held within the broader framework of the Indian Constitution, the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration. With national consensus evolving at the all-party meeting, leaders welcomed the coming Indo-Pakistan summit but made it clear to the government that Kashmir should not become the sole issue and that the Hurriyat Conference should have no role, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan said briefing newspersons about the meeting.

On the “so called tea party” of the Pakistan High Commission at which Hurriyat leaders are being invited, Mr Mahajan said that “we have already advised Pakistan not to invite”.

“For us they (Hurriyat) have no locus standi and have no legitimacy. They are Indian citizens. If they participate in the elections and win, then they will have a role”, Mr Mahajan said adding that “we hope that wisdom would dawn on Pakistan Government in this regard”.

The Pakistan President is coming to meet the Indian Prime Minister and focus should not be lost on some smaller things, he pointed out.

Asked if Hurriyat leaders were invited in spite of the Indian reservations and advise them whether the government representative would attend the tea party, Mr Mahajan said the government had no intention to breach the protocol on this issue.

What should other political parties do in that case, the minister said it was for them to decide.

However, general opinion among the parties is to boycott the tea party if Pakistan went ahead with invitations to Hurriyat leaders.

Asked about the US role in the summit, Mr Mahajan said that External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh told the meeting that Washington had no role either directly or indirectly.

Leaders of major political parties, who attended the meeting, told reporters that they favoured dialogue with Pakistan on Kashmir based on the 1971 Simla Agreement and the 1999 Lahore Declaration asserting that the entire Jammu and Kashmir was part and parcel of India. In a strong response to Pakistani talk of Kashmir being the “core” issue, Mr Vajpayee it was not the “sole issue” between the two countries and that the Agra summit should discuss cross border terrorism and trade and economic ties to ensure fruitful bilateral cooperation. “Kashmir is not the sole issue. We have to see all issues in totality. Then only cooperation is possible between the two countries,” he told an all-party meeting, the first major interaction between government and political parties ahead of the July 14-16 summit.

In an apparent reference to the hype being built in Pakistan over Kashmir, Mr Vajpayee said “We keep hearing about the so-called core issue standing in the way of good neighbourly relations. We have never shied away from this or any other issue. But narrow and cliche-ridden approaches have not worked in the past. Nor has violence.” “We have to seek another way - one that takes the entire relationship forward and addresses the core concerns of our peoples in their struggle against poverty.”

“All parties welcomed the talks and conveyed the good wishes to the Prime Minister. We want the process of dialogue to continue...and Kashmir should not be the core issue,” CPM leader in the Lok Sabha Somnath Chatterjee told reporters after the meeting echoing the views of others. The leaders, including Dr Manmohan Singh (Congress), Mr V.K. Malhotra (BJP), Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Mr P.H. Pandian (AIADMK) and Mr Raghuvansh Prasad Singh (RJD) said all parties emphasised that Kashmir should not he made the main issue but stress should be laid on strengthening bilateral trade, commerce and cultural ties. With regard to the Hurriyat Conference they said they made it clear to the government that it had no role. Mr Malhotra said if Hurriyat leaders were invited to the ‘high tea’ to be hosted by Pakistan High Commission in honour of the Pakistani President then political parties should boycott it.

The Congress President Sonia Gandhi in her intervention at the all-party meeting emphasised that the agenda for the summit must include “all outstanding issues” between the two countries and not confine only to Kashmir.

While welcoming the initiative of the Prime Minister in inviting the Pakistan President, Mrs Gandhi said “this is a bilateral summit and there is no role for any other organisation or third party.”


Qazi invites APHC leaders
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 9
Completely disregarding India’s reservations, the Pakistani High Commissioner, Mr Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, today invited all seven executive members of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) to a reception at the high commission here on July 14 in honour of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

India had repeatedly expressed its reservations over the invitation to the members of the APHC and had requested General Musharraf not to meet them during his official visit for the Indo-Pak summit. The APHC had written both to General Musharraf and the Indian Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behri Vajpayee to invite them for talks before the summit.

Former chairman of the APHC Mirwaiz Omar Farooq confirmed that they had received the invitation from the Pakistani High Commissioner.

The Mirwaiz, who returned here after attending a meeting of foreign ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Conference in Mali, met the High Commissioner along with the present chairman of the APHC, Mr Abdul Gani Bhat, Mr Abdul Gani Lone and Sheikh Abdul Aziz.

Justifying the Pakistan Government’s decision to invite the APHC, Mr Qazi said it was an appropriate step. He, however, added that he was hoping that this would not have any effect on the July 15-16 summit.

India had earlier conveyed its reservations over inviting the Hurriyat leaders asserting that this could vitiate the atmosphere before the talks.

Meanwhile, the Hurriyat Conference today said it expected to have a “one-to-one meeting” with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf during a reception being hosted by Pakistani High Commission here despite objections from India.

“We have written to Gen Musharraf about a one-to-one meeting during his visit to the country for summit level talks with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and we are hopeful,” Hurriyat Conference Chairman Abdul Gani Bhat said after receiving an invitation from Pakistani High Commissioner Ashraf Jehangir Qazi.

Mr Bhat, who along with former Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Omar Farooq met Mr Qazi this afternoon, said the modalities of Hurriyat’s participation in the reception were still being worked. The 65-year-old Hurriyat Chairman said the Centre should not make a “hue and cry” over nothing. “We received the invitation cards for attending the reception in honour of Gen Musharraf in response to our communication to him.”Back


Pak ready to discuss other issues

Islamabad, July 9
Pakistan tonight said although the focus of Indo-Pakistan summit would be on Kashmir, it was willing to discuss other issues as well but announced a small delegation to accompany President Gen Pervez Musharraf to India leaving out Interior and Commerce ministers

Announcing the composition of the delegation, Pakistan Information Secretary Anwar Mahmood said results of the upcoming Agra summit should not be prejudged.

“Pakistan’s position is obvious and we cannot prejudge the talks,” he said. “The focus of the Pakistan-India summit would be on Kashmir but Pakistan would be willing to discuss other issues as well,” he said. 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 |