M A I N   N E W S

Centre, Hurriyat agree to end all forms of violence
Prashant Sood
Tribune New Service

New Delhi, September 5
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told a delegation of of the All- Party Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq that conditions will be created for reduction of armed forces from Jammu and Kashmir if there is a cessation of violence and an end to infiltration.

The Prime Minister, who met the Hurriyat Conference leaders for about two-and-a-half hours at his residence, reaffirmed his faith in a peaceful resolution of all issues pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir.

At the end of the meeting, the two sides agreed to carry forward the dialogue process so that all regions and all shades of public opinion in Jammu and Kashmir was involved. They agreed that the only way forward is to ensure that all forms of violence at all levels should come to an end.

Mr Sanjaya Baru, Media Advisor to Prime Minister, said later that the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere.

The Hurriyat leaders did not come out from the gate where mediapersons were waiting and left the Prime Minister’s House from a different gate.

Dr Manmohan Singh welcomed the resumption of dialogue between the government and the APHC.

Dr Singh told the Hurriyat leaders that violence had no role in a democracy and repeated his commitment to ensure a life of peace, self-respect and dignity for the people of the state. He agreed to review all cases of those held in detention and ensure that violations of human dignity would not be tolerated. He said government would take all necessary measures to safegaurd against human rights violations. He agreed to time-bound review of those held under the Public Safety Act and POTA.

Mr Baru said the APHC delegation welcomed the opportunity to meet the Prime Minister and discuss issues pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir. It was felt that the dialogue process should lead to resolution of all outstanding issues relating to Jammu and Kashmir. The APHC delegation stressed that an honourable and durable solution should be found through dialogue.

Several issues concerning the rights of people deserving the attention of the government were raised at the meeting. The APHC said they would be able to bring up specific suggestions for the honourable and durable resolution of the problem of Jammu and Kashmir at the next meeting. Mr Baru said no time had yet been fixed for the next meeting.

Besides Mirwaiz, the Hurriyat delegation comprised former Hurriyat Chairman Abdul Gani Bhat and Maulana Abbas Ansari and Bilal Lone and Fazal-ul-haq Qureshi.

The Prime Minister was assisted by Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan, Centre’s interlocutor on Kashmir N N Vohra and Home Secretary V K Duggal.

Today’s talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were the Hurriyat’s first with the UPA government since it came to power in May last year. These were held a few days ahead of Mr Singh’s meeting with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in New York on the sidelines of UN General Assembly.

The Hurriyat leaders also apprised the Prime Minister of their talks with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad.

Mirwaiz, who along with some other Hurriyat leaders arrived from Srinagar yesterday, said before the talks that situation was much more conducive and relations between India and Pakistan were very much on track. He said Hurriyat’s recent visit to Pakistan and “endorsement of its policies by Islamabad and PoK regime” has put the amalgam on a stronger wicket.

“The agenda will be to complete the political process of finding some space for Kashmiris in the talks for the resolution of the issue,” he said.

Mirwaiz said the amalgam was aware that the talks were not going to bring about a quick solution to the dispute.” What we require is consolidation and continuity of the dialogue process with the government. This will complete the cycle of Hurriyat’s triangular concept involving India, Pakistan and People of Kashmir,” he said.

The UPA government had said earlier that it was not averse to “involve those outside the electoral system” in efforts at finding a lasting solution to the Kashmir problem. The Hurriyat Conference held two rounds of talks with the previous NDA government.



Pak welcomes Hurriyat-PM meeting
K J M Varma

Islamabad, September 5
Welcoming the first-ever talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the moderate Hurriyat faction led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Pakistan today said it would strengthen the peace process with India.

“We welcome it. We think it will strengthen the peace process between India and Pakistan. People of Kashmir and Hurriyat association is important for durable peace,” Foreign Office spokesman Naeem Khan told a media briefing here.

Asked which of the factions of the Hurriyat Pakistan supported, Khan said “All Hurriyat leaders are important. We respect them. We do not have any favourites.”

To another question, he said Kashmir issue would be the focus of talks between PM Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf when they meet in New York on September 14 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting. — PTI


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