Hurriyat Conference (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq says his telephone conversation with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was their first contact from the Imran Khan administration at the "political and leadership level" and they told him that Kashmir issue cannot be solved unless India and Pakistan come close to each other.
In an interview with IANS, Mirwaiz also said that Hurriyat wants an end to violence in Kashmir and dialogue was the only way forward. He said Modi government's objections to his phone conversation with Qureshi on Tuesday may have a link to the impending LokSabha elections.
The unusual phone call by Qureshi on Tuesday elicited a strong reaction from the Indian government which termed it "a regressive step and is contrary to the overall perception, which the Pakistan leadership is trying to create".
Mirwaiz said that Hurriyat representatives have been in touch with the Imran Khan administration.
"We have a set-up in Muzafarabad and Islamabad. Our party representatives are there. They have been meeting them and calling them. But it is first time they have officially reached out to us at the leadership level. It was the first at political level," he said. Mirwaiz said Qureshi told him that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan "tried his level-best to reach out to India" but there was no response.
"He (Qureshi) said Pakistan is very disappointed that Imran Khan made a lot of efforts to reach out to the Government of India, we took initiatives, we did Kartarpur, offered a dialogue on Kashmir but there was no response and a negative response," .
Mirwaiz said Qureshi also told him that they were concerned about the situation in Kashmir and wanted a peaceful solution to the problem. "He (Qureshi) said that we want to engage, but India was not responding and we are concerned about the situation in Kashmir, we want a peaceful solution for the problem and we will work for that," he added.
Qureshi, he said, told them that they will try to reach out again to India after the LokSabha elections. "We also told him that interest of Hurriyat is also that the two countries come close. Till then the our problem will also not be solved," he said.
Hurriyat (M) chairman said that talking directly to Qureshi should not be an irritant to the Modi government. "We fail to understand (why) the BJP government is making so much noise on the meeting. Unless three parties talk to each other, how will a solution emerge?"
Referring to the government's objections to the phone conversation with Qureshi, he said, "The atmosphere they have created since yesterday, I don't know what their targets are." IANS