Hurriyat justifies insistence on Pak inclusion for talks
12 January 2003
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: Asserting that it was guided by 'realities' and not 'conditionalities' while seeking a resolution to the Kashmir issue, Hurriyat Conference today said involvement of Pakistan in the dispute was 'not a condition but a principle' which New Delhi would have to accept. 'Involvement of Pakistan in talks is not a beaten track. This is not condition and Hurriyat does not believe to be guided by conditionalities. We choose to be guided by realities. The participation of Islamabad is a principle after which the talks can proceed,' Hurriyat Conference chairman Abdul Gani Bhat said. 'Whom we should talk to first is a matter of detail. If the principle is accepted, we may talk to India and then go to Pakistan,' he said. When asked to comment on the statement of Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani that Hurriyat was a spokesperson of Pakistan, Bhat said 'I do not deny Advani the right to choose his words likewise I hope he will not deny me the right to choose my words. 'We speak the language of former Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru who had stated that the people of Jammu and Kashmir were the masters of their destiny...' Bhat said. Commenting on the suspension of passport of former Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and whether it could be an impediment in bringing the amalgam to table, Bhat said 'people in politics have to suffer hiccups of different dimensions at different times and there is no escape from this either.' The Hurriyat chairman said 'when one talks whether this move could interfere with the dialogue process, let me make it clear that there was a bigger issue. Passport or no passport, we will have to pass on and on towards a bright future. 'Let us, therefore, sieze the opportunity to work for resolution of disputes with a view to banish the ghost of nuclear war from the South Asian region,' Bhat said. To a question whether suspension of passports of Hurriyat leaders was indicative of hardening of New Delhiís stand, Bhat said 'attitudes and the style of working, I conceed make up the mindset. However, whether the attitude is soft or hard in Delhi it causes no concern to Hurriyat for the simple reason that we not only have to be guided by realities, but also by the strong urge for peace in the region.' Bhat said the attitudes and style of working in Delhi should mark a beginning of a purposeful dialogue between India, Pakistan and people of Kashmir 'and more importantly introduce an element of flexibility into the process of talks.' 'We will have to talk and ensure a better world and a better future,' he said. Asked whether he saw Centreís attitude of not involving Pakistan as a deadlock, the Hurriyat chairman said 'no, I donít feel we should think in terms of deadlocks and hardening of attitudes as this would block the passages to sanity.' 'We should keep on exploring possibilities with our eyes focussed on a secure and stable future for the people in South Asia,' he said.