Take part in polls to test popularity: Pant to Hurriyat
11 April 2002
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: Centre''s interlocutor for Jammu and Kashmir K. C. Pant on Thursday asked the Hurriyat Conference to test their representative character by participating in the forthcoming polls. ''If they want to test their popularity, they can participate in the forthcoming elections,'' Pant said after returning from Islamabad. He said that there was no question of accepting a separate election commission. He pointed out that ''Though the Hurriyat''s earlier plan envisaged holding of polls in all areas including PoK, later this was changed under pressure from certain quarters.'' Taking a dig at Pakistan he said, ''Now we find less and less discussion on this area and also Northern areas annexed by Pakistan within its territory and the areas ceded to China illegally.'' On the SAARC meeting, he said that there is a positive movement in efforts to alleviate poverty in the SAARC region with Pakistan recognising the importance of intra-regional trade.