Wednesday, September 10, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

PM’s talks offer to Hurriyat stands
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 9
The Centre’s special gesture last month during the meeting of the Inter-State Council in Srinagar that the political leadership is willing to hold discussions with the All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) stands despite Pakistan’s machinations to split the separatist conglomerate and foist a hardliner at its helm.

“The present churning in the APHC does not alter the Vajpayee government’s initiative to hold talks with those claiming to be the voice of the Kashmiris,” observed sources.

They pointed out that a significant gesture was made by the Prime Minister in Srinagar recently. It was followed up by Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani who suggested that due to the disturbed conditions in the valley, the talks with the APHC could be held in New Delhi.

The moderate leadership of the APHC pitching for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue has desired talking to the political leadership and rejected holding discussions with Centre’s interlocutor on Jammu and Kashmir N.N. Vohra.

It is apparent that any effort on the part of the APHC to strive for a dialogue with the BJP-led NDA government goes against Pakistan’s interest of keeping the pot boiling in J and K. It is in this context that efforts are being made from across the border to unseat Maulvi Mohammad Abbas Ansari as the chairman of the APHC and scuttle the talks with the Centre.

The sources said Pakistan was finding it rather disconcerting that the moderates in the APHC are beginning to assert themselves and the pro-Pakistan elements are seemingly getting sidelined. To a large extent, the APHC’s desire to meet Mr Vajpayee and other Central leaders on the Kashmir imbroglio reflects the mood of the people rejecting violence and wanting peace.

Certain leaders of the APHC have acknowledged that there is a conspiracy to split the conglomerate. At the same time there are hopes of a reconciliation with the APHC reiterating that it is for a peaceful resolution. It is in this context that they have proposed talking to New Delhi first and travelling to Islamabad later.


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