Pak Will Try To Unite Factions Of Hurriyat
25 June 2004
The Asian Age
Srinagar: Pakistan will make one last effort at forging unity between the warring factions of the Hurriyat Conference during the weekend. Apart from receiving firsthand feedback on the overall situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir, the agenda of Pakistan foreign secretary Riyaz A. Khokar's proposed one-on-one meetings with Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani would be to persuade them to bury the hatchet. The meetings being held on the sidelines of the foreign secretary level talks between India and Pakistan in New Delhi have been called at Islamabad's request. The initiative gives credence to reports that Pakistan too is upset and perturbed over the feud among the Kashmiri separatist leadership. As all previously done efforts have failed to bring them closer, Islamabad is now apparently pinning hope on its charismatic foreign secretary who, as the country's high commissioner to India, has dealt with the undivided Hurriyat Conference and other separatist parties and groups acceptably. The present incumbent, Mr Aziz Ahmed Khan and his deputy Munawar Ahmed Bhatti on Thursday met Mirwaiz Umar in New Delhi to offer their condolences on the slaying of his uncle Moulvi Mushtaq Ahmed by militants. They also requested him to stay put in the city so that he could meet Mr Khokar. The mirwaiz, who is in Delhi to condole the death of a family friend's son, was scheduled to return here on Thursday. He confirmed that he has been invited to hold discussions with the neighbouring country's foreign secretary but did not elaborate. Sources close to Syed Geelani said that he is flying to Delhi before Mr. Khokar arrives. 'Yes, he would be meeting Khokar Sahib, Aziz Sahib and others.'