As a sequence to sudden positive vibes from Pakistan on Kashmir, Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin is now all for dialogue.
Salahuddin, who also heads the United Jehad Council, an apex body of the militant groups active in Kashmir, said in Rawalpindi on Friday: “India and Pakistan should sit on the negotiation table.” The Hizbul posted the speech on the Facebook page of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, leader of the hardline faction of the Hurriyat conference.
Hard on the heels the speech followed Pakistan’s Kashmir affairs minister Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo’s statement in Lahore on Saturday that the back-channel diplomacy with India was underway and Kashmiris “must be involved in the parleys”.
Although Salahuddin never expressed his desire to take part in any talks on Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said on November 29 he was ready to facilitate if the Hizbul Mujahideen wanted to join the huddle.
Till July, Salahuddin had been quite open about his opposition to any India- Pakistan dialogue. He was also against the “red carpet reception” for Indian ministers, such as home minister P Chidambaram and foreign minister SM Krishna, in Islamabad.