Hurriyat for ''unconditional talks''
24 July 2002
New Delhi: The All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) is ready to hold ''genuine and unconditional talks'' at the highest level with the Centre on the Kashmir issue. Stating this here today, the former Hurriyat chairman, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, said the APHC was willing to hold sincere talks with New Delhi to resolve the problem. Disagreeing with the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani''s views that talks were on with the Hurriyat to persuade it to participate in the coming Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir, the Mirwaiz said polls were not the solution. ''We are not for elections as this is purely an administrative exercise and not a political one. We are interested in dialogue because that is the solution to the Kashmir problem. We do not believe in gun-culture. We believe that a genuine, unconditional dialogue with New Delhi at the highest level of the Prime Minister can pave the way for a solution. Let there be a sincere and genuine effort on the part of New Delhi to hold a dialogue, we will respond.'' The Mirwaiz said the organisation was not interested in the mission of the former Law Minister, Arun Jaitley, who had been appointed by the Centre to hold talks on greater devolution of powers to the State. Meanwhile, Mr. Jaitley is scheduled to hold talks with the representative of the State Government, Ghulam Mohideen Shah, here tomorrow to discuss the issue of devolution of powers. Qayyum denies report B. Muralidhar Reddy reports from Islamabad: The Chairman of the Pakistan Kashmir Committee and former Prime Minister of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Sardar Abdul Qayyum, dismissed the reported statement by a member of the Pak. chapter of the Hurriyat, that he had appealed to the All-Party Hurriyat Conference to participate in the coming Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, as ''utter nonsense''. Speaking over phone from his village in PoK, Mr. Qayyum said, ''I have not spoken to the APHC chairman, Abdul Ghani Bhat, for months. It is a mischievous report. There is something fishy about the whole thing.''.