Hurriyat welcomes PM's stand on Kashmir
5 January 2001
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: The Hurriyat has welcomed Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's statement about the need to go beyond the 'beaten track' to solve the Kashmir problem, but criticised the bureaucracy for creating hurdles in the peace process by not giving their organisation passports to travel to Pakistan. Hurriyat Chairman Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat, who arrived here yesterday from Srinagar along with JKLF chief Yaseen Malik, described the Prime Minister's statement as a welcome step, which he said, could help a great deal in the success of the peace process. But, the Centre should 'bend the rules' for issuing them passports, he felt. 'You have to break the ice. For breaking the ice you have to break a rule. Peace cannot be established in vacuum. You have to go beyond rules.' Leaders of India, Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir should put their heads together for ensuring peace in the south asian region, he said. Senior Hurriyat leader Abdul Ghani Lone, who also welcomed the Prime Minister's statement, echoed Bhat's statement on the bureaucracy. The Hurriyat had made its intention to contribute to the peace process very clear, he said. Referring to recent reports that four Hurriyat leaders had been given passports, he replied in the negative. He said he had opted out of the team that is to go to Pakistan as he had been there only recently and wanted other members to be sent. Prof Bhat said he had been authorised by the executive to constitute a team for visiting Pakistan.