Geelani ready for talks but puts 4 conditions
16 June 2004
News Network International
Srinagar: By not rejecting the proposition outright and saying that 'the Hurriyat would deliberate upon the contents of invitation for talks from New Delhi' Senior Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has provided a breather to government efforts that seek to make the Delhi-Srinagar dialogue all inclusive. 'This is still imaginary. But, if at all they extend an invitation it would be discussed threadbare within the Majlis-e-Shoura (Advisory Council). Only after that we would come out with our response,' Geelani, who heads Hurriyat Conference, told reporters at the end of his crowded press conference, GKNS reported. Earlier while addressing the press conference he outlined the Hurriyat stance about the ensuing Indo- Pak dialogue reiterating that the only democratic way to resolve Kashmir issue is to exercise the genuine plebiscite in both parts of Jammu and Kashmir. However he put forward a four-point agenda for India to follow before 'it expects restoration of peace.' 'Army should be recalled to the barracks, prisoners released unconditionally, Disturbed Area Act repealed and the parliament resolution holding J&K as the integral part of India should be revoked,' he spelled out adding India would find Kashmiris more peace loving once these measures are put in place. But, he added, the bottlenecks in the way of peace should be removed. Geelani also sought to strengthen the ensuing Indo-Pak talks. However he insisted that the Jammu and Kashmir is not the territorial dispute between India and Pakistan but a vexed issue concerning 13 million people of Jammu and Kashmir including Azad Kashmir. About the government change in New Delhi the 75-year-old Jama'at-e-Islami veteran maintained that there was no change in the mindset of New Delhi vis-à-vis Kashmir. 'Congress is similar to BJP in its approach to Kashmir problem. However a secular façade is put up by the Congress leaders only to hoodwink the International community as also Kashmiris,' he said while quoting noted author and columnist Khushwant Singh. However Geelani stopped short of rejecting any effort from New Delhi to involve him in the talks process initiated by the previous regime in January this year. He said the Hurriyat would look into the contours of the invite from New Delhi and respond after holding a special session of its 17-member Majlis-e- Shoura. Making his stand more clear Geelani dismissed any talks exercise with New Delhi on the status quo as ridiculous and asserted that such activities would be a rebirth of 1975 accord that saw Sheikh Abdullah surrendering his movement for self-determination for the chief minister's chair.