Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, 36, chairman of the moderate faction of Kashmir’s All Parties Hurriyat Conference, told HT on Thursday:
|The Mirwaiz wields considerable influence in Kashmir.|
It was a startling shift in position of a man who has been one of the leading symbols of the Kashmir Valley movement for separation from India.
“Hurriyat is keen on starting a dialogue with both India and Pakistan,” Farooq said, adding the Centre seemed to have realised “the Hurriyat was not articulating the Pakistani point of view, nor was it interested in embarrassing India at international forums”. He has been invited to one such forum in New York next week: The Organisation of Islamic Confe-rence foreign ministers meet.
Mirwaiz, which means chief preacher in Urdu, wields considerable influence in the Muslim majority state.
The Hurriyat is looking at a solution that revolves around “demilitarisation, self-governance and better people-to-people contact with the other part of Kashmir (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir)” he said.