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Hurriyat cautious
To build consensus on talks offer
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, October 23
The Hurriyat Conference led by Moulvi Abbas Ansari here today adopted a cautious approach, deciding to “procure a broader consensus” on the offer of talks with Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani for a “resolution of the Kashmir issue”.

Disclosing this after a meeting of the four-member executive committee meeting, Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat said a meeting of the general council and working committee would be held over the next 10 days to thoroughly discuss the matter. “ We will be talking to organisations (like minded) within and outside the Hurriyat Conference and also those who have parted ways with the APHC”, Mr Bhat told mediapersons at the end of the meeting at party headquarters here this afternoon.

Without mentioning the name of senior separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mr Bhat also appealed to his group to return to the Hurriyat fold and work for the resolution of the Kashmir issue unitedly.

In his opening remarks Mr Bhat reiterated the Hurriyat Conference stand that it would be talking on the solution of the Kashmir problem both with India and Pakistan “any time, anywhere and when it happens”. If they take one step, we will respond with two”, Mr Bhat added. He held that the APHC would be going with the proper peoples’ support before entering into any negotiations. “We will take measured steps” he said. The APHC leader held that is case of an effort set afoot in Delhi and Islamabad, “we will have to contribute with a view to consolidate the process”. He added this could be done only when a “broader consensus” was secured.

Mr Bhat stressed the need for an open and pragmatic approach towards the resolution of the Kashmir issue. He asked Indian and Pakistani leaders to “rise to the occasion” and declare 2004 as a year of the “resolutions for peace, security, prosperity, goodwill and amity”. He said there was no other alternative but talks at all levels to resolve the Kashmir issue.

The four-member executive committee which attended the meeting included the chairman, Moulvi Abbas Ansari, Bilal Ghani Lone and former chairmen, Mirwiz Moulvi Umar Farooq and Mr Abdul Ghani Bhat. Mr Ansari drove straight from the airport to the party headquarters after his arrival from New Delhi this afternoon.

The Hurriyat Conference did not have talks with the Centre’s interlocutors, Mr K.C. Pant and N.N. Vohra, who had been earlier entrusted with the task of talking to various Kashmiri groups to resolve the issue. It, however, had a series of negotiations with the Ram Jethmalani-led Kashmir Committee last year.

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