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Hurriyat wants extremists' role in talks

The comments came two days after the group agreed to establish a system to discuss solutions to the J&K problem.

india Updated: May 05, 2006 22:23 IST

Hurriyat, Kashmir's main separatist political alliance, said on Friday it wanted to invite Islamist terrorists fighting in the Valley to join new peace talks with New Delhi.

The comments by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chief of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, came two days after the group agreed with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to establish a system to discuss solutions to the Kashmir conflict. 
 
"Well, definitely, once this process takes on, once we are able to have a blueprint, the Hurriyat can also try to get them on board ... (using) whatever influence we have," Farooq told a news agency in an interview.

The terrorists are also opposed to any compromise over the territorial dispute.

Farooq said the terrorists were not upbeat about the ongoing peace process between the Centre and Hurriyat on the one hand and between India and Pakistan on a parallel track.

"It's a fact that most of them feel nothing is coming out of the process," said Farooq, speaking at a plush New Delhi apartment.

Pakistan's support

Farooq, who is also the hereditary chief Imam of Kashmir's main mosque, called this week's talks with the Prime Minister as the first real dialogue between the two sides.

The alliance had held talks with Manmohan Singh earlier in September and had also negotiated with the previous NDA government.

But those meetings made little progress towards finding a lasting solution to the Kashmir dispute.

"This time we had a dialogue. We talked about specifics," said Farooq, 34, who was wearing a cream-coloured traditional Kashmiri long shirt and loose white trousers.

Besides getting the terrorists on board, analysts say the success of the latest efforts would also depend on Hurriyat's ability to carry other separatist groups along and sustain the backing of Pakistan.

Farooq said he was confident of Islamabad's support after having visited Pakistan and holding talks with leaders there.

"The dialogue process with Pakistan is going on. The India-Pakistan process is also going on. We want to club all this. This would evolve as we move on," he said.

"It's good to see for the first time Islamabad is comfortable with Delhi-Srinagar talks. Not only comfortable, they are supporting it. These are good developments."