Friday, August 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

APHC to hold 2nd round of talks

Srinagar, August 22
The APHC has accepted the invitation from the Kashmir Committee headed by former Union Law Minister Ram Jethmalani for holding the second round of talks on Kashmir in New Delhi.

“Yes we have received an invitation on fax from the committee and will definitely be going to Delhi to talk to them,’’ APHC chairman Abdul Gani Bhat said. He confirmed that he had also been conveyed about the proposed talks by the committee .

He said during the wide-ranging talks with the panel at the Hurriyat headquarters on Saturday, they “agreed to work in partnership towards a peaceful, sincere and durable solution of the Jammu and Kashmir problem which could lead to the end of violence and tension in the region.’’

Asked if the Hurriyat Conference would reconsider its decision on keeping away from the forthcoming Assembly elections, he said there would be no rethinking on that. “We have seen elections in the past also without achieving anything,’’ he said.

“We have to involve India, Pakistan and the people of Jammu and Kashmir as well if we have to achieve a permanent breakthrough to this issue,’’ he said. Asked about the agenda of the next meeting, he said there could be many issues.

“However, I can add that there is a much bigger agenda than the Assembly elections... that is resolution of the Kashmir issue once and for all. “We consider the Assembly elections irrelevant as they will not serve any purpose,’’ he said.

He claimed that according to the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, the state had a total of 100 seats while the elections were being held for only 75 seats.

The panel had announced that it would facilitate talks between the Prime Minister and Mr Shah at an early date. However, the Hurriyat Conference said it would first discuss the invitation from the Prime Minister before taking any decision on whether to participate in the talks or not. UNI

TNS adds from New Delhi: Despite the initial setback in the talks with separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir, the Kashmir Committee led by former Union Law Minister Ram Jethmalani on Thursday sent a formal invitation to the Hurriyat Conference and Shabir Shah for the continuation of talks to find a “lasting solution to the Kashmir problem”.

“It would be appreciated if you can make the visit early next week so that a further structured dialogue could go on for hammering out a peaceful and lasting solution to the Kashmir imbroglio,” the committee, in its formal invitation to Hurriyat chairman Abdul Gani Bhat and senior separatist leader Shabir Shah, said.


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