December 2001 News

Centre likely to open dialogue with Hurriyat leaders after Eid

9 December 2001
Hindustan Times
Arun Joshi

Jammu: The Central government is about to open formal dialogue with the secessionist conglomerate All-Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) to find a solution to the Kashmir crisis, according to official sources. The dialogue process may start anytime after the Eid-ul-Fitr, depending on the response this initiative receives from the Hurriyat leadership, the sources said. The APHC, which is yet to be intimated about the Centre's proposed move, has said that it would await the details before reacting. It would also try to ascertain whether the move is being initiated under international pressure or is 'genuinely' guided by the wish to solve the issue, Hurriyat sources said. Talking to the Hindustan Times, APHC Chairman Abdul Ghani Bhat said, 'They (the Central Government) will have to spell out what they want to talk about in detail. And if they do, the Hurriyat executive will sit and decide its course of action'. However, Hurriyat sources clarified that the conglomerate would not withdraw the demand for tri-partite talks as it did not believe that a permanent solution was possible unless all the three parties to the 'Kashmir dispute' were involved in the process. The sources said the Centre was expected to formally communicate with the Hurriyat leadership after the return of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The sources revealed that a team headed by Planning Commission Vice Chairman K.C. Pant and including Officer on Special Duty in the Prime Minister's Office A.S. Dullat and a Home Ministry official would be involved in the dialogue process, depending on APHC's response. This initiative will meet the APHC's long-pending demand for an exclusive dialogue with it, sources said. The APHC had discarded Pant's invitation for talks in May-June this year saying it would not be part of the 'dialogue in a crowd'.

 

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