Hizbul offer draws others towards truce
29 July 2000
The Asian Age
Srinagar: The positive response towards the Hizbul Mujahideen''s unilateral truce offer has evoked in Jammu and Kashmir and beyond is tempting other outfits towards truce. The leaders of at least two of them, presently camping in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, are holding talks with their counterparts from the Hizbul to know what is up Syed Salahuddin''s sleeve. Once convinced by his logic behind offering unilateral, conditional cease-fire for 3 months, these outfits will not waste time in falling in the line, reports said. Incidentally, both these groups are constituents of the United Jihad Council which has rejected the truce offer as betrayal of the Kashmiris'' cause. Back in Srinagar, the Hurriyat Conference has described the Centre''s willingness to hold open peace talks with the Hizbul without tagging on the phrase ''within the Constitutional framework'' as a major shift in its approach. ''Though there are intricacies and complications lying in the way, the move could well lead to a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue if it is allowed to take a positive shape,'' Prof. Abdul Gani, the amalgam chairman said in a statement here. Reacting to New Delhi''s setting the ball rolling for a formal dialogue with the Hizbul, Prof. Gani said that the Hurriyat Conference represented the Kashmiri sentiment and has had played a historic with regard to their political aspirations and would continue to do so in future. ''We stand for an honourable, just and lasting solution of the Kashmir problem because that would guarantee peace and prosperity of the entire region,'' he said adding ''therefore, what is needed is initiation of a comprehensive, meaningful and result-oriented political process in the state.'' Prof. Gani also noted with great satisfaction that the amalgam''s role in the changing world scenario was becoming more ''lively'' and ''substantial.''