Hurriyat may accept greater autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir
23 September 2002
The Hindustan Times
Washington DC: Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Omar Farooq has said the separatist conglomerate would consider ''an alternative negotiated settlement'' of the Jammu and Kashmir problem providing greater autonomy to the Kashmiri people even if it did not lead to an independent state. ''Kashmir is not a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan but a human problem that requires a durable, acceptable and honourable solution,'' he told the Washington Times in an interview published on Monday. He said the Hurriyat would consider an alternative settlement provided all ''fundamental issues'' are duly addressed. However, he asserted the Kashmiri people will not accept a government that was formed before a comprehensive dialogue addressing their ''fundamental issues''. The Hurriyat leader told the paper that during his meetings with State Department and National Security Council officials here last week, he was promised that the US would urge India to focus on the ''fundamental issues of Kashmir''. However, the paper noted, ''Washington has stressed that Pakistan must stop the flow of terrorists into India before larger talks resume.''