February 2001 News

Kashmiris from AJK to attend peace moot in Valley

18 February 2001
The News International

ISLAMABAD: A group of leading Pakistani Kashmiris said on Sunday they planned to attend an unprecedented peace meeting in held Kashmir of politicians from both sides of the disputed Himalayan region. The Pakistani Kashmiris said more than 60 politicians and intellectuals from the Pakistani side had been invited to a March 17-18 conference in Jammu being organised by former Kashmir state chief minister Ghulam Mohammad Shah. They said the number of delegates who would travel depended on how many were granted visas by New Delhi.But Amanullah Khan, chairman of the pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, who is coordinating the planned trip, told Reuters that he thought Indian authorities had assured Shah there would be no 'undue hurdles' to the meeting. He said that the meeting was designed to work out a formula to solve the 53-year-old Kashmir dispute.All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) had planned to send five senior members to Pakistan last month to pave the way for resumption of a deadlocked dialogue. But the trip has not happened and four of the delegation members complain they have not been issued travel documents by the Indian authorities.The Indian Cabinet Committee on Security was due to meet on Sunday to decide whether to extend a unilateral ceasefire it declared in Kashmir in November. Pakistan has responded by partially pulling back its troops from the disputed border. India says it is ready to talk to Kashmiri guerrilla groups, which rejected the ceasefire, but has refused to resume talks with Pakistan unless Islamabad stops what New Delhi calls 'cross border terrorism'. Pakistan denies training and arming the militants but says it gives moral and political support to Kashmiri 'freedom fighters'. Indo-Pakistan talks have been stalled since border fighting in Kashmir in 1999 brought the two nuclear rivals to the brink of a fourth war.


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