A day after Hurriyat separatists met Sartaj Aziz, advisor to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, it now transpires that both sides indulged in some plain speak, with the former virtually accusing Islamabad of side-stepping the Kashmir issue in favour of a bilateral dialogue with New Delhi. Aziz, on his part, told the Hurriyat leaders in separate meetings last Sunday that the Kashmir issue will be resolved through peaceful bilateral negotiations with India.
South Block sources said that Hurriyat leaders in their meeting with Aziz wanted Pakistan to prioritise the Kashmir issue, highlight human rights violations, implement UN resolutions and address unauthorised occupation of land in the Valley by security forces. “We have told Aziz that we are not against a dialogue but the focus should be in areas where human sufferings are involved. The Kashmir issue has affected our four generations and this cannot go on,’’ JKLF chief Yasin Malik told HT.
Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani apparently was disappointed with Islamabad for not raising the issue of human rights violation in international forums. “Geelani insisted that former Pakistan President Pervez Musharaf’s policy of giving constant concessions to India has harmed us and insisted that dialogue between the two countries has to be Kashmir centric,’’ said spokesman of Hurriyat (G) Ayaz Akbar. Geelani on Tuesday told a local news agency that “gun was also an option for resolution of Kashmir problem” but insisted that his party believed in peaceful solution of the issue.
Aziz made it clear that Pakistan wanted to resolve the Kashmir issue through peaceful means, official sources said. Sharif’s envoy told the Hurriyat leaders that in the current context of Pakistan’s economic and internal security situation, it was important to participate in a bilateral dialogue where Kashmir is addressed among other bilateral issues.
Awami Action Committee Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told HT that “Hurriyat is conscious of the need of engagement between the two countries but insisted on Kashmiri involvement at a later stage.”
Another hardline voice Asiya Andrabi of Dukhtaran-e-Millat said Pakistan had moral responsibility towards Kashmiris. “We told Aziz that Onions and potatoes are for bureaucrats to discuss. Resolution of Kashmir issue is most important,’’ he said.