Pak visit, no picnic: Bilal

Greater Kashmir / Greater Kashmir
Publish Date: Dec 11 2012 12:00PM
Srinagar, Dec 10: Lashing out at critics, Hurriyat Conference (M) on Monday said that nobody should expect them to get the license of freedom from Islamabad during their upcoming Pak visit, as Kashmir ‘dispute’ was not an ordinary issue to be solved overnight.
“People must realize that Kashmiris themselves have to take initiatives to break the ice and move forward,” senior Executive member in the Mirwaiz led Hurriyat Conference Bilal Gani Lone told KNS.
“The Hurriyat delegation is not going to Islambad for a picnic. We have been invited by a State. Hurriyat had not sought any invitation, but was invited by the government of that country to initiate  a dialogue”, said Lone.
He added that those who question the timing of the visit should understand that the delegation would be holding talks with every important politician and political party including PPP, PML (N), and PTI. “What has Hurriyat got to do with elections, whosoever comes to power, the system is going to be the same”, argued Lone.
He said that India and Pakistan were two sovereign countries and Hurriyat leaders were not in a position to ask Pakistan what it should or shouldn’t do. “Why are people asking us about the timing of the visit? They should ask Pakistan who have invited us”, asserted Lone.
He made it clear that Kashmiris have to break the status quo and move forward ‘as no solution to the problem could come out by sitting indoors’. “We want to discuss the issues with Pakistan and India so that something concrete comes out of it. If we as stakeholders don’t take initiatives who else is going to solve our problem,” asked Bilal.
He insisted that the Hurriyat delegation was not traveling to Pakistan for facilitating a change in governance in the neighboring country or address the grievances, instead it wanted to make a headway in the resolution process.  He however was quick to add that they (Hurriyat) had no road map or proposals to offer to the Pak government. “We only would discuss the issues and see what Pakistan was up to, because it has been more than five years since we last traveled to that country.”
“We are going to a friendly country, why should anyone have objections. Let’s discuss the things and see how we can move ahead,” said Lone, who is part of the Hurriyat delegation, which is leaving for Pakistan on Friday.
Terming the ‘criticism’ on the visit as ‘needless’, Bilal Lone said,  the Hurriyat (M) was not talking for the leaders but for the people who he said, were the best judges to differentiate between ‘wrong’ and ‘right’ .
Lone also termed Mirwaiz Umar Farooq as the leader who has gained acceptance worldwide. “If someone is not ready to accept him as a leader, no one could force him to do so. Mirwaiz has emerged as a leader who has been accepted by Pakistan, Kashmiris and the international community, so why shouldn’t we accept him.” questioned Bilal.
Meanwhile, Bilal convened the meeting of executive committee of his party, Peoples Conference wherein he sought suggestions with regard to Pak visit.
Sources said that executive committee welcomed the Hurriyat initiative and hoped that the visit would turn out to be historical.(KNS)