Don’t leave out Kashmir: Separatists tell Islamabad
Geelani, Mirwaiz, Malik Call On Pak Foreign Secretary
New Delhi, July 3: Raising the pitch for Kashmir to be made the core issue in any Indo-Pak dialogue process, separatist Kashmiri leaders Tuesday told Pakistan that nothing tangible would come out of talks without resolving the dispute.
These views were expressed by the separatists during their deliberations with Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani here. The two sides met after Jilani’s arrival from Islamabad earlier during the day. He is here to take part in the two-day talks with his Indian counterpart Ranjan Mathai starting on Wednesday.
Jilani has invited the separatist leadership to visit Pakistan in September-October. The dates of the visit will be decided later after mutual consultations, Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said.
Jilani met the Hurriyat delegations led by Mirwaiz and Syed Ali Shah Geelani separately. The two sides expressed similar views on the need to involve Kashmiris in the dialogue process. The eight-member APHC delegation also included Shabir Shah, Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat, Maulvi Abbas Ansari, Bilal Gani Lone and Aga Sayeed.
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik also held a separate meeting with the visiting Pakistan bureaucrat. Significantly, most of them supported the dialogue process between the two countries but emphasized the involvement of Kashmiris in such processes in the future.
Emerging from the meeting, Mirwaiz said the APHC felt that solution to all problems could be found through dialogue. “If it is happening in Afghanistan with Taliban, why cannot it be started in Kashmir? We are ready to discuss all options aimed at resolving the Kashmir problem but all such efforts must reflect will of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and their active involvement be ensured,” he added.
He reminded the Pakistan Foreign Secretary that Kashmir was not a territorial dispute. Describing Kashmir as the core issue between the two countries, he felt that only a process-based endeavor and not an event-based effort such as the present will deliver a solution.
Referring to prevailing peaceful atmosphere in the Valley, he said that the people want to give peace a chance. Both India and Pakistan should take benefit of this situation and start the process to find a solution to Kashmir problem even if it has to be done in a step-by-step manner.
The Mirwaiz told Jilani that though there is talk of more CBMs being put in place, but it will be futile to do so as the existing ones have not been properly implemented. In this connection he pointed to cross-LOC measures and said that free movement across the LOC is the birth right of the people of J&K.
On his part Geelani reminded the Pakistan authorities that the country is morally bound to prevail upon India to resolve Kashmir issue. “Islamabad and all right thinking people in India should support the Kashmiris’ fight for their rights,” he observed.
Geelani mentioned about the “excesses” being committed by the security forces. He said that the Pakistani authorities have agreed to address the Kashmir problem as a core issue which it will also raise from the forum of Organization of Islamic Countries.
Geelani clarified that he was not opposed to the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley provided they go back to their respective areas where they earlier lived. On the question of their safety, he said that Kashmir has a rich history of mutual trust and brotherhood.
JKLF chief Yasin Malik drew the Foreign Secretary’s attention to the transitional change in Kashmir from violence to the existing non-violent atmosphere. This transition needs to be respected and full benefit of the situation should be taken to resolve the issue. “If Kashmir problem is not resolved under the prevailing circumstances, it will send a wrong signal world over,” he felt.
Earlier, talking to media persons at the IGI Airport, Jilani said, “I have brought a message of goodwill, peace and prosperity from the people of Pakistan and the Government of Pakistan to the people of India and the leadership of India. I have brought good wishes and I am looking forward to my very constructive dialogue with my counterpart Ranjan Mathai. I have been mandated by the leadership to move this peace process forward.”
The meetings have not gone down well with New Delhi. Sources in India's foreign ministry said such meetings are not conducive to creating a positive atmosphere or reducing trust deficit, a key objective of the dialogue process which India and Pakistan revived only in February last year after a long hiatus following the Mumbai attacks.
Mathai and Jilani will begin two-day official talks Wednesday that will focus on issues like peace and security including confidence-building measures, Jammu and Kashmir, and the promotion of friendly exchanges.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 3 Jul 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 3 Jul 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 4 Jul 2012 00:00:00 IST
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