APHC wants militants to join talks with Delhi
5 May 2006
The Daily Times
New Delhi: Kashmir’s main separatist political alliance said on Friday it wanted to invite Islamist militants fighting in the disputed region to join new peace talks with New Delhi. The comments by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chief of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), came two days after the group agreed with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to set up a system to discuss solutions to the Kashmir dispute. Hurriyat is an alliance of nearly two-dozen separatist political groups. “Well definitely, once this process takes on, once we are able to have a blueprint, the Hurriyat can also try to get them on board (using) whatever influence we have,” Farooq told Reuters in an interview. Iftikhar Gilani adds: Mirwaiz said he was fully satisfied with Wednesday’s talks with Singh since “for the first time New Delhi is talking in terms of a concretizing mechanism”. He said the Hurriyat leaders had reservations on the upcoming second roundtable conference of the prime minister in Srinagar on May 25 with various political parties and groups in Jammu and Kashmir. “We told him that people from Muzaffarabd and Gilgit should also be invited to the conference,” he said in an exclusive interview with Daily Times. Mirwaiz said the Hurriyat leaders made several suggestions and “the PM did not reject anything, nor did he express his inability or political compulsion like last time”. He said that Singh “also thinks in the same terms as we but uses different language. He asked us what structure we want when we suggested a concretized mechanism,” Mirwaiz said. “We told him that there are certain things in which he has to deal directly with us where Pakistan is not involved,” he said. “From vagueness, we are moving towards specifics. Our concept is clear. We will ask Pakistan also to give a white paper and tell us what their concerns on Kashmir are.” Mirwaiz said Hurriyat leaders welcomed the cross-LoC trade to begin from July and told Singh that the State Subject Certificate should be the only document for verification and identification of a person travelling across the LoC. “The PM agreed and asked us to give a paper on it,” he said.