APHC attempts to reopen talks with India
4 September 2007
The Daily Times
New Delhi: Leaders of the moderate faction of the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) are attempting to reopen negotiations with the Indian government here on Tuesday after declaring that talks had broken down. Hurriyat leaders Bilal Gani Lone and Prof Abdul Gani Bhat will join APHC Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who has already been in the Indian capital for two days preparing for the talks - on Wednesday to begin the dialogue. Last week, Farooq had stated that the dialogue process with New Delhi had remained inconclusive because of lack of political will. He was concerned, he said, that a historic chance has been missed. Sources said that the Kashmiri leaders had sought an appointment with opposition leader LK Advani and Communist Party of India (M) General Secretary Prakash Karat to bring them up to date about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. They said the Kashmiris were trying to make the Indian leaders see that failure of talks at this juncture would push the Kashmiri youth towards extremism. Farooq has reportedly told his interlocutors that his organisation was ready to prove its representative character, provided it was aimed at settling the issue forever. We are trying hard that at least someone in the government close to the prime minister should meet them, said an interlocutor. Last year, the APHC leaders had told Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh as well as Pakistani leaders that they would try to forge a united front with other Kashmiri leaders to build a consensus around the emerging solutions between India and Pakistan. The leaders have reportedly stated here that they have made substantial progress on the issue particularly with other moderate leaders, namely Shabir Ahmed Shah and Muhammad Yasin Malik. They have has also said that in order to maintain the momentum of the dialogue, the Indian government should form a committee of senior officials under the political leadership to oversee the proceedings. The high-power committee, according to them, should remain in touch with the Kashmiri leadership on a daily basis to avoid a breakdown and to convey, and decide on, the grievances and complaints regularly. The leaders, however, did not seem inclined this time to enlist the help of Union Water Resources Minister Prof Saifuddin Soz - a Kashmiri in the Indian establishment to get through to the Indian government, saying that he has proven ineffective since he assumed power. Farooq told reporters in Srinagar that talks had broken down with the centre.