Separatist groups and two Jammu and Kashmir legislators have been invited to a conference on Kashmir set to be held in Islamabad, and at least one legislator on Friday said he will attend.
The invitation for the January 20-21 Round Table Conference has been issued by Sardar Muhammed Yaqoob Khan, president of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Those invited include all constituents of the separatist Hurriyat Conference, civil society members and legislators Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami (CPI-M) and Engineer Rashid (Independent) -- the latter said he will take part.
A spokesman for Rashid, who heads the Awami Ittehad Party, said he would leave for Pakistan on Saturday. His party is not recognised by the Election Commission.
The spokesman said: “Kashmiris being the principal party to the dispute and victims of the conflict should not waste any opportunity to put forward their viewpoint before India, Pakistan or the world community.”
While in Islamabad, Rashid will meet various political groups and different sections of the society over various aspects of the 68-year-old Kashmir problem, said the spokesman.
Tarigami told IANS on phone that he was yet to decide about his participation. Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Mohammed Yasin Malik said he was yet to get an invite.
Separatist leaders invited to Islamabad include Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Geelani, Hurriyat moderate Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Dukhtaran-e-Milat chief Aisa Andrabi, and Hurriyat Conference leaders Shabir Shah, Aga Syed Hasan and Muhammad Yousuf Naqash.
The invitees are expected to shed light on the Kashmir conflict and its ramifications on India-Pakistan relations as well as the “rise of Hindu right in India”.
A similar conference was held in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan- administered Kashmir, in 2008.
That meeting was attended, among others, by Tarigami, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, PDP leader Moulvi Ifthikar Ansari and Independent MLA Hakeem Yasin.
Pakistan controls the northern third of Jammu and Kashmir state.