April 2003 News

Hurriyat sees change in Vajpayee

20 April 2003
News Network International

SRINAGAR: Though the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) sees a change in Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajapyee, it has reiterated the Kashmir issue could be resolved only through tripartite talks. Reacting to Vajpayee's two-day visit to the Kashmir Valley, Hurriyat Chairman Abdul Gani Bhat said 'I could see a change in the mindset of Mr Vajpayee on Kashmir.' It is for the first time that India has recognised the issue of Kashmir at the highest level when the prime minister said the Kashmir issue has been lingering for the past 50 years, said Prof. Bhat, as quoted by the Exelsior. The centre has admitted the reality, he said and added 'we will extend all help to any initiative that helps to resolve the Kashmir issue once and for all.' He said the Hurriyat's formal reaction to Vajpayee's visit would be issued after its Executive Council meets. When asked when the Committee would meet, Prof Bhat said 'we are not in a hurry.' 'We will support the dialogue process if it is sincere and result- oriented,' he said. In reply to a question, Bhat said 'We are watching very carefully statements made by India and Pakistan. We want them to live as good neighbours.' When asked if the Hurriyat would meet the centre's interlocutor on Kashmir N N Vohra who is visiting the Valley tomorrow to hold talks with the people from different walks of life, Prof. Bhat said, 'our stand is very clear on talks.' UNCONDITIONAL TALKS Meanwhile, the Chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Professor Abdul Ghani Bhat has emphasised that India must offer unconditional talks to Pakistan and Kashmiri leadership to resolve Kashmir dispute once for all. In an interview with KMS he described Indian Prime Minister's offer of talks to Pakistan as vague, which needs to be spelled out clearly. He said, the Indian Prime Minister must have a feel of the heartbeats of Kashmiris and respect their aspirations. Professor Butt pointed out that talks should not be only for the sake of talks but to yield meaningful results. Expressing similar views, the head of Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party Shabbir Ahmad Shah told mediamen, 'if Vajpayee is sincere to resolve Kashmir dispute, he should formally invite Pakistan and Kashmiris for talks.

 

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