US facilitating Advani-APHC talks: Bhat
28 January 2004
News Network International
New Delhi: Domestic compulsions are keeping India and Pakistan away from giving credit to Americans for the recent breakthroughs regarding Kashmir and Indo-Pak relations. But the Kashmiri leadership that made a historic breakthrough in New Delhi by meeting Indian Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani says so openly. In fact, the first contact between the highest policy makers in New Delhi and Hurriyat leadership was established soon after President Clinton had visited India and Pakistan in March 2000. However, the then Chairman of the APHC Syed Ali Geelani, who along with his colleagues was released from prison at President Clinton's intervention, dispirited such contacts and dampened the spirits of interlocutors who included Delhi-based American envoys, former foreign secretaries Muchkund Dubey, Salman Haider, and persons like late A. M. Khusroo and scores of others, Kashmir Times reported. The interlocutors in turn stopped interacting with Geelani and turned to other Kashmiri leaders. The articulate face of Hurriyat and so-called author of the Hurriyat's road map of peace, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat was one among them. He replaced Geelani as chairman of the conglomerate soon after. Then started a series of contacts and after years of ground work and interaction, a meeting with top Indian leadership finally took shape. Prof Bhat acknowledged that the US was acting as a facilitator and was behind the peace moves. He claimed that his road map which they will present to the Indian leadership in their next meeting in March takes care of the interests of both India and Pakistan. Accepting that there was a communication gap with Pakistan, he stresses that the leadership in Islamabad should review its Kashmir policy in terms of the changed global realities and for the sake of peace.