January 2001 News

Hurriyat meeting on Tuesday to set agenda for Pak talks

13 January 2001
The Indian Express
NAZIR MASOODI

Srinagar: The Hurriyat visit to Pakistan on its scheduled date, January 15, will not materialise even if the passports of all the team members are cleared by Sunday. The separatist conglomerate, All Parties Hurriyat Conference, is holding itsmeeting on January 16 - a day after the visit date - to formulate themodalities of the visit, their agenda for dialogue and a time-frame oftheir stay in Pakistan. 'Even if the travel documents are cleared before the due date, the visitwill be delayed at least by a week or so,' said Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, former Hurriyat Conference Chairman and now an executive member. He said some delegation members have yet to receive their travel documentsand one should not expect 'our Pakistan visit on Monday, January 15'.Umar said the Government of India is waiting for the Prime Minister's returnfrom abroad and a decision in this regard is likely to be taken tomorrow. He said if the travel documents of all the members of the Hurriyat delegation were cleared, they will give a final shape to their proposed Pakistan visit only on Tuesday. Umar hopes the travel documents will be released on Monday if Vajpayee takes a 'positive decision'. Mirwaiz said the Hurriyat executive is meeting on Tuesday to formulate the modalities of the visit and agenda for talks with the Pakistan government and the mujahideen leadership. 'At the meeting we will discuss the modalities of our visit and take a unanimous decision on what should be the agenda of the Hurriyat Conference when it talks to the Pakistani government and the mujahideen leadership,' he said. The former Hurriyat Chairman and President of the Awami Action Committee said the Tuesday meeting will also select the head of the five-member delegation. He said they will also set a time-frame for their stay in Pakistan. 'How long we should stay in Pakistan and whom we have to talk will be talked of in the session,' he said. Before visiting Pakistan, the Hurriyat is trying to devise a mechanism so that it will get a positive response from Pakistani authorities and the mujahideen leadership. Hurriyat leaders are in constant touch with some militant commanders across. The United Jehad Council, an umbrella of militant groups based in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), had already formed a five-member group which is deliberating with Hurriyat leaders here on the prospects of the proposed visit. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the All Parties Hurriyat Conference unit in 'Azad Kashmir' will be consulted before formulating the agenda for the Pak visit. Even during the visit, he said the APHC's PoK unit will be involved at all the stages. Sources, however, said the Tuesday meeting is likely to witness resentment from Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who had showed his unhappiness on the formation of the Hurriyat delegation before the travel documents of all the APHC leaders were cleared. Geelani has reiterated an earlier stand taken at a Hurriyat meeting that 'the delegation will not be formed unless the travel documents of all the executive members are cleared'. The pan-Islamist leader has expressed his reservations on his inclusion in the delegation 'without intimating him'. Another Hurriyat executive Abdul Gani Lone, who is also a member of the delegation, said he too was not consulted by the Hurriyat Chairman before including him in the list. Lone had earlier said 'there is no fun visiting Pakistan since he had recently returned from that country and had met the Pakistani leadership, including General Parvez Musharraf and mujahideen leaders'. However, it is not clear whether Geelani and Lone will attend Tuesday's meeting since the two are now in Delhi on medical grounds. Geelani had complained of pain in the chest and was admitted in a local hospital here last Tuesday. He was flown to Delhi on Friday. The duo were absent from Hurriyat's Thursday meeting last week when APHC chairman Prof Abdul Gani Bhat formed the five-member delegation.

 

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