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Mirwaiz to visit Pakistan

india Updated: Nov 16, 2009 01:21 IST
Peerzada Ashiq

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who is heading a faction of the Hurriyat Conference, on Sunday received a formal invitation to visit Pakistan from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. He denied that the Hurriyat has rejected Home Minister P.Chidamabarm’s quite diplomacy plan.

In a meeting that lasted for four hours, Umar held deliberations with Pakistan High Commissioner Shahid Malik on the visit. On Saturday, Umar had received a call from the Pakistan High Commission to visit their mission in Delhi. Umar, who was visiting the Jammu region to spread word about the dialogue process, had to cut short his visit and rushed to New Delhi.

“I met Pakistan’s High Commission today. I am planning to travel to Pakistan after the upcoming Eid (a Muslim festival),” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told the Hindustan Times on phone from New Delhi.

“I will not be only meeting the Pakistani government but also the Opposition parties of Pakistan to carry forward the dialogue process on the Kashmir dispute.”

Mirwaiz said Malik assured him that the Pakistani government is committed to involving Kashmiris in the dialogue process. “We are not going with any particular formula to Pakistan but with ideas and open mind,” said the Mirwaiz.

The move has come after a successful round of talks between India and Pakistan on Kashmir on track II diplomacy at Bangkok recently. There have been overtures from the Pakistani leadership to start composite dialogue again. Sources said the Bangkok meeting has helped the two countries to break some ice.

Denying that his group has rejected Home Minster P.Chidamabaram’s quite diplomacy plan, Umar said the Hurriyat position on the dialogue process is clear. On Saturday, two senior leaders of the Mirwaiz faction of the Hurriyat Conference, Shabir Ahmad Shah and Nayeem Khan, rejected the dialogue process initiated by New Delhi.

“Hurriyat is a forum and a group of many political parties. There could be different view points. But the conglomerate’s stand is clear on dialogue,” said Umar.

He apprehends that lack of conducive atmosphere can act as a stumbling block for the talks. “People in Kashmir have no faith in dialogue institution. There is huge credibility crisis for India in Kashmir. India has to win faith of Kashmiris by changing ground situation in the state,” said the Miwaiz, adding past dialogue experiences have been disappointing and futile.

“But we are ready to give it a one more chance. We are hopeful of the resolution of the Kashmir dispute,” said the Mirwaiz, who is flying back to Srinagar on Monday.