India, Pak To Invite Separatists For Talks20 March 2011
Srinagar: India and Pakistan are likely to extend invitation for talks to Kashmiri separatist leaders before the next round of Foreign Secretary level parleys, likely to be held in May this year, sources told Greater Kashmir on Sunday. They said the Track-II diplomats of both the countries have suggested that India and Pakistan should extend the invitation to the separatists simultaneously. “Invitations are likely to be sent in April to the chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and the JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik,” the sources said. They said the refusal of separatists to hold parleys with the interlocutors, appointed by New Delhi to hold talks with people of Kashmir, prompted the track-II diplomats to suggest that India and Pakistan should extend a formal invitation to Kashmiri leaders. Interlocutors, according to the sources, had approached the separatist through common friends to hold talks with them. “Kashmiri leaders expressed their inability to do so citing various reasons,” they said. It is understood that separatists had conveyed it to the interlocutors that the talks cannot take place till the ground situation in the Valley improves. “Common Kashmiris have to feel the change. Till then no headway can be made,” a few of the separatists had told the common friends who had intervened to break the ice. A track-II diplomat said that New Delhi wants to ensure that the coming summer passes off peacefully in Kashmir and that is why it wants talks to start in May. “The diplomats of India and Pakistan have agreed to convince their respective governments to rope in top Kashmiri leaders for the success of Indo-Pak composite dialogue,” the sources said. Kashmiri leaders, they said, are not that keen to enter into any sort of parleys only with India as they believe that a bilateral dialogue won’t serve any purpose. Pertinently the idea to hold trilateral talks, involving India, Pakistan and Kashmiri leaders, was mooted by Hurriyat (M) after the resumption of Srinagar-Muzaffarbad bus (Peace Bus) service in 2005. A delegation of Hurriyat leaders led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and the JKLF chairman, Muhammad Yasin Malik had traveled to Muzaffarbad in the “Peace Bus” through Line of Control and held the first round of talks with Pakistani leadership, including the then President General Pervez Musharaff. However, the chairman of Hurriyat (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani had refused to travel to Pakistan in the “Peace Bus” which was flagged off by the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on April 7, 2005. The 3-member delegation of Hurriyat (M) led by Mirwaiz had visited Islamabad on a routine flight from New Delhi in December 2005 for the second time in the year to hold second round of talks with Pakistani leaders. Sources said that internal crisis in Pakistan and ouster of Musharraff jolted the dialogue process. “Had Musharraff continued, Hurriyat leaders would have met the leaders in New Delhi and held talks with them also,” they said. “The Track-II diplomats have picked up the threads from where they were left in Musharaff’s regime.” “If all goes well we will see Kashmiri leaders talking to India and Pakistan very soon,” said a source. He said that proposal has already been forwarded to the respective governments and final nod is awaited.