M A I N   N E W S

Hurriyat hopeful of early breakthrough in talks
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 7
Terming the meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a “solid beginning,” leaders of All-Party Hurriyat Conference have said they were hopeful of an early breakthrough on Kashmir issue if the present style of working continued.

Former Hurriyat Conference chief Abdul Ghani Bhat, who was part of the five-member Hurriyat delegation that met the Prime Minister on Monday, said they had made a beginning and hoped to move forward with wisdom, courage and openness.

“If this is the method of dealing and style of working, I trust we will achieve a breakthrough in near future,” he said.

Mr Bhat said the meeting had helped the two sides “develop an understanding of the issues in the subcontinent.”

“We discussed Kashmir with reference to what we need to do in order to resolve the problem, restore peace and ensure stability in the region,” Mr Bhat said.

He said people everywhere wanted to live in peace. “We cannot wait. People of the subcontinent want to live in peace and ensure a brighter tomorrow. The sooner we do it, the better,” he said.

He said that the Hurriyat Conference was realistic in not expecting miracles from the meeting with the Prime Minister. “Kashmir is a sensitive issue. No miracles can happen in a day’s time,” he said.

About the timing of the next meeting with the Centre, Mr Bhat said the dates will be finalised after Prime Minister’s return from his visit to New York.

Mr Bhat, who along with other Hurriyat leaders had met President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad, said that the leaders of two countries had developed an understanding to resolve ticklish issues. “All of us need to go together. I am happy we are moving towards togetherness,” he said.

On the criticism of the APHC’s moves by hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mr Bhat said the APHC wanted to be relevant to the situation. “We represent the sentiment of the people in the valley and are also aware of the dynamics of change sweeping across the subcontinent. We have the capacity to mix sentiment with change,” he said.

Not laying emphasis on calling the present nature of dialogue as “triangular,” Mr Bhat said “substance was more important than the form of dialogue.”

The Hurriyat Conference leader Bilal Lone, who was also part of the team that met the Prime Minister, said he was optimistic about the talks. “Let us see what comes out of it. People on the ground have to feel the soothing impact,” he said.

Mr Lone expressed satisfaction that the talks were held in presence of the entire “Kashmir desk” of the government. He said given the present equation between top leadership of India and Pakistan, it was the right opportunity to arrive at a solution. “The two governments are working in tandem and are not rigid. If the opportunity is missed, it will be unfortunate,” he said.

While the Hurriyat leaders raised issues of “human rights violation and heavy troops deployment” during the talks which did not have any specific agenda, the discussion also broached matters like “nuclear weaponisation” of the subcontinent, open market economy and big power interest in the region.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |