Meeting with Hurriyat depends on India: Pervez
7 July 2001
The Hindustan Times
K J M Varma
Islamabad: IN AN apparent softening of stance, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf tonight said his meeting with Hurriyat leaders during his visit to New Delhi depended on the Indian side as they seemed to be a little "hesitant" for such a meet. "We have invited Hurriyat leaders to a reception of the High Commissioner on the evening of July 14. But I really don"t know. I am not sure, it depends on the Indian authorities whether they permit them to meet me or not", Musharraf said in a panel interview with selected journalists of different media organisations here today. Yesterday, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Riaz Mohammad Khan defended the move to invite the Hurriyat leaders saying they had been invited in the past for all the important occasions like the country's National Day. "In the same tradition invitation will be extended to them," he said. Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Vijay K Nambiar last night conveyed to Foreign Secretary Inamul Haq New Delhi's reservations over change in Pakistan's stand on meeting Hurriyat leaders over-riding Indian objections. About the impact of Indian decision not to allow the Hurriyat leaders to meet him, Musharraf said, "Initially it may not impact that seriously because initially really very important issue is the Indian acceptance of this core issue (of Kashmir) and sincere desire of moving forward (on that)". "But, however, no forward movement subsequently is really possible without the participation of the Kashmiri leaders. I think it will be very unrealistic if the Kashmiris did not join this dialogue at some stage in the future", he said. About the Indian allegation of Pakistan supporting militancy in Kashmir, Musharraf said: "Certainly we did not accept this allegation that Pakistan is fanning the trouble there. But we certainly have half of Kashmiris with us, and there are Kashmiris on this side and there are Kashmiris on the other side. There are sympathisers here. We certainly give diplomatic and moral support to Kashmiris there." 'so to that extent one could attempt to influence their decisions that is all I would like to say. One wouldn"t like to certainly say that whatever is happening in Kashmir is under our aegis", Musharraf said. On his emphasising Kashmir repeatedly as the "core" issue for talks, Musharraf said, 'some Indian leaders are taking offense on why Kashmir should be emphasised over and over again. I don"t know why they take offense. What else should be over- emphasised? It is the main issue on which we fought three wars but it is still there. And I don"t know why they should take offense". Musharraf was, however, hopeful that the proposed summit would not be fruitless. "Yes, indeed I think we need to certainly initiate and continue the process of dialogue. And the dialogue certainly should not be fruitless. It ought to be aiming at a direction, which moves towards resolution of the core issue".