No fresh invitation to Hurriyat: Pant
3 August 2001
The Asian Age
New Delhi: Centre today rejected issuing of any fresh invitation to Hurriyat conference for talks but said doors were open for the 23-party conglomerate to respond and initiate a dialogue with the government. ''No, we are not going to issue any fresh invitation to Hurriyat conference as they are yet to respond to the our earlier offer,'' centre''s interlocutor on Kashmir K C Pant told reporters here. His comments come close on the heels of three senior Hurriyat conference leaders, including fire-brand Jamaat-e-Islami leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, saying it was ready to consider any ''fresh proposal'' for talks from the centre. Geelani had said in Jammu that ''we have not closed our doors for talks with the centre but are not interested in talks for the sake of it.'' Considered a hardliner, Geelani said Hurriyat will extend full cooperation to every positive move and steps taken by the centre to resolve the Kashmir issue. Senior leaders Abdul Gani Lone and former chairman of Hurriyat conference Mirwaiz Umer Farooq had also aired similar views. While Lone had said Hurriyat conference will give serious thought to a proposal from the centre, Umer Farooq had said ''we will positively respond to any initiative based on addressing the basic issue and will support any peace effort.'' However, Pant today put all speculations to rest and declined any more invitations being extended.