Hurriyat softens stand, KC supports its demand to talk to Pakistan
8 September 2002
The Indian Express
New Delhi: The Kashmir Committee on Sunday supported Hurriyat Conference''s demand to visit Pakistan for holding talks with Kashmiri leaders and government there for finding a solution to the Kashmir imbroglio. ''The committee supports Hurriyat''s wish to pursue a dialogue for peace and a durable solution with Pakistani government and Kashmiri political elements there,'' M.J. Akbar, eminent journalist and a member of the Committee, said in Delhi. Emerging out of a 150-minute meeting, members of Kashmir Committee and Hurriyat leaders in a joint statement asked all concerned parties to abandon their traditional positions and show some flexibility and realism in resolving the issue. The two sides agreed that ''the process of dialogue could be best nurtured through a structured dialogue between all concerned parties.'' Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Akbar said, ''The dialogue should be between people across the borders to create conditions conducive to a solution that lies in acceptance by all parties.'' Mirwaiz said, ''While taking stock of the situation, both the parties mutually agreed that all concerned parties must rise above their traditional positions, abandon extreme stands and show the necessary flexibility and realism to reach an acceptable, honourable and durable solution.'' Stating the Hurriyat would continue with its poll boycott call, Mirwaiz said, ''Elections are a closed chapter for us.'' Mirwaiz expressed happiness over the decision of the Kashmir Committee to meet the Pakistan''s Kashmir Committee headed by Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan at a mutually convenient time and place. ''It is indeed a step forward and the Hurriyat is also of firm belief that besides government-to-government contact, there should be a people-to- people contact so that an amicable solution is arrived at,'' Mirwaiz said. Urging governments of India and Pakistan to make all efforts at the earliest to create conditions for reducing tensions between the two countries, he said, ''We believe that all the matters in the world need to be resolved by sitting across the table and violence has no role to play.'' Akbar said New Delhi had made it categorically clear that it was not against the process of holding talks but Islamabad needed to address certain issues including an immediate end to cross- border terrorism. Asked whether the two sides would continue to hold meetings, Mirwaiz said the next date would be fixed either after the completion of the polls in Jammu and Kashmir or after the end of the United Nation''s General Assembly session. The two sides also stressed for return of migrants back to their homes in the valley.