Pakistan needs to create consensus on Kashmir: Mirwaiz | india | Hindustan Times
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Pakistan needs to create consensus on Kashmir: Mirwaiz

In what may be indicative of a new approach of Kashmiri separatists toward Pakistan, All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Wednesday asked Pakistan to create a “consensus on Kashmir” before offering any solution on the over six decade old issue between India and Pakistan, reports Arun Joshi.

india Updated: May 13, 2010 00:22 IST
Arun Joshi

In what may be indicative of a new approach of Kashmiri separatists toward Pakistan, All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Wednesday asked Pakistan to create a “consensus on Kashmir” before offering any solution on the over six decade old issue between India and Pakistan.

Mirwaiz, who was a relentless cheerleader of former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf’s four-point formula; irrelevant borders, demilitarization from both sides of Line of Control, self-governance and joint mechanism, wanted the current Pakistani government to work out a consensus on Kashmir issue before putting forward any solution.

“Pakistan needs to create a consensus on Kashmir within. The current government should take everyone on board there before offering any solution,” Mirwaiz told Hindustan Times in an exclusive interview on phone on Wednesday, a day after Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers spoke on phone and decided to meet in Islamabad on July 15.

This is a shift in the stand of the separatist leader who has been talking to both India and Pakistan since 2004, and who during the Musharraf era was recognized as the head of the Hurriyat Conference, shunning hardcore Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

“Other day I heard that Pakistani Foreign minister saying that Pakistan will go back to its original policy on Kashmir (read right to self determination under the UN resolutions on Kashmir), Musharraf had proposed an out of box solution (four-point formula), but others were not on board, so it did not move anywhere.”

“After Musharaf proposed his Kashmir solution, I met with Benazir Bhutto in Dubai and Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharief in Jeddah, and both of them told me that they were not against any out of box solution on Kashmir,but Musharraf had not taken them into confidence.”

Mirwaiz has made this doclosure for the first time.

Musharraf should have taken them into confidence, the Mirwaiz said. “Now, I believe same applies to the current Pakistani government there.”

“We will convey this point to Pakistan in a foreceful manner, as we would soon plan a visit to Pakistan. There is a standing invitation to us,” the separatist leader said.

Appreciating the resumption of talks between India and Pakistan, Mirwaiz, however said that “this should not be repeat of the old story of talks taking off, then getting grounded. Unless there is a sustained dialogue, results would not be visible.”

Mirwaiz said that India should stop using the approach of rushing to separatists whenever there is a crisis and taking a U-turn when the crisis subsides. “Leave aside Kashmir resolution, India is not even serious on confidence building measures.”

He also chastised Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for charging separatists with playing with bloodshed .

“Omar Abdullah should know that a conflict is on in Kashmir, and 100,000 people have been killed. There is a conflict going on for the past two decades, perhaps, he was not here during that time, that’s why he doesn’t know that all cannot talk about development. They are children of conflict who want to bring Kashmir issue in focus.”