As moderate Hurriyat leaders left for Pakistan to meet its new leadership, sceptics say the trip is another ‘media exercise’ by Islamabad.
A three-member Hurriyat delegation — chairman Miwaiz Umar Farooq, Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat and Bilal Ghani Lone — left for Islamabad on Saturday on the invitation of Pakistan Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who is arriving here on a three-day visit on June 27.
During their five-day stay, the separatists will hold meetings with the new Pakistani leadership, representatives of PoK government besides President Pervez Musharraf whose four-point formula to resolve the Kashmir issue has become a ‘mantra of peace’ for them. “The invitation reflects Pakistan’s seriousness to resolve Kashmir on a priority basis,” Mirwaiz said before leaving.
However, experts said the visit would be a familiarisation trip, as they want to apprise the Pakistan government of the political situation in J&K. “They also want to gauge the new leadership’s thinking on Kashmir and get to know who is in charge,” said former RAW chief AS Dulat.
“Hurriyat leaders are Pakistan’s political representatives in Kashmir. They speak Pakistan’s language. With Musharraf gone, they now want to toe Geelani’s line,” said former Indian diplomat G. Parthasarathy.
Hurriyat insiders appear wary too. They believe it could be another “media exercise” as “nothing substantial” had emerged from previous visits. “But our leaders have asserted they won’t let the visit be relegated to a photo-op,” they said.