Kashmiri Leader Leaves For Pakistan
17 August 2005
Srinagar: In a significant development Top Hurriyat Conference leader Maulana Abbas Ansari left for Pakistan on a week-long trip Tuesday. Abbas had visited Pakistan along with his colleagues including Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Prof Abdul Ghani and Yasin Malik last month at the invitation of Islamabad government. The Hurriyat leaders visit is considered as significant as it has come amid speculations that New Delhi was likely to send a formal invitation to the conglomerate for resuming the stalled dialogue process in the first week of next month. Hurriyat Conference had held two rounds of dialogue with New Delhi in the previous NDA government. The talks have remained stalled ever since the new government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took over. Soon after their return from Pakistan, Hurriyat resumed its activities to assert its position as the sole representative of the Kashmiri people. It even opened channels of communication with Kashmiri Pandit groups. Speculations are also rife that New Delhi might replace Kashmir interlocutor NN Vohra with Wajahat Habibullah, an influential bureaucrat, who enjoys a good rapport with the Hurriyat leaders. Hurriyat has in the past refused to entertain Vohra and have shown their willingness to engage with Habibullah who has served in Kashmir and enjoys a fairly good reputation among the people here. Hurriyat sources did not rule out the possibility of Moulvi Abbas discussing the imminent Center-APHC talks with the Pakistani leaders. They however said he was primarily visiting Pakistan to attend an international seminar being held in Karachi.