Geelani Refuses To Join Any Talks With Advani
23 October 2003
News Network International
Srinagar: The centre's fresh peace initiative received an initial set-back after the All Parties Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani refused to enter into a dialogue with deputy prime minister L. K. Advani saying that 'before any talks start New Delhi should accept Kashmir as disputed issue and also include Pakistan in the process'. However, the moderate faction of the APHC led by Moulana Mohommad Abbas Ansari welcomed the offer and decided to convene an emergency meeting of its executive council to discuss the offer of holding talks with deputy prime minister, Kashmir Times reported. Mainstream parties have also welcomed the initiative and said that process needs to be sustained for finding the lasting solution to Kashmir issue and usher-in peace and tranquility in the sub-continent. Syed Ali Shah Geelani said Kashmir is an internationally accepted dispute and it has three parties _ India, Pakistan and Kashmiris. 'Unless all the three parties sit together and hold discussions this issue cannot be solved. Bilateralism has failed all along and it will not serve any purpose even if it is held at the highest level', he said. Geelani noted that the talks couldn't progress because New Delhi continues to say that Kashmir is an integral part of India. 'If this is the case then for what this process is all about', he said and added that the bilateral dialogue is also the violation of Hurriyat constitution and it clearly states that Kashmir can only be solved through tripartite dialogue or by UN intervention. Contrary to Geelani's stand, moderate leader and former Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq welcomed the initiative but said that they would hold an extraordinary session of executive council within a day or two to decide the issue. Another leader of the APHC Prof Abdul Gani Bhat said that the chairman Moulana Mohammed Abbaas Ansari is flying back here from New Delhi to chair the meeting of executive council. 'We will hold the discussion threadbare and devise a strategy and then react accordingly', he said. Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), also welcomed the offer but said that talks should be held for the resolution of dispute. 'No body can deny the fact that the Kashmir issue can be resolved only by a peaceful dialogue. And if central government has taken an initiative with sincerity for finding the lasting solution to the issue then we welcome it. But again the fact remains that the issue has three parties and all of them need to be taken into confidence before arriving at any conclusion', said Bashir Ahmad Bhat, vice-chairman of JKLF. National Conference President Omar Abdullah said the centre should hold talks with both factions of the Hurriyat in order to add to the credibility of the dialogue process. 'The centre should hold talks with both Abbas faction and Geelani faction. This will lend credibility to the process. If centre talks to moderate only then the hard liners will get the opportunity to discredit Abbas faction and the objective will be lost. So there is a need to adopt a strategy to hold composite talks for settlement of this issue', said Omar.