On a day when Delhi was abuzz with preparations for the one-day visit of the Pakistan President, life in Kashmir was hit by a shutdown called by separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani against the conviction of separatist Ghulam Nabi Fai.
The geographical hiatus, however, did not stop the top leadership — mainstream as well as separatist politicians — of the Valley from reacting to the impending visit.
Talking to mediapersons on the sidelines of a World Health Day function in Jammu on Saturday, CM Omar Abdullah said he did not “expect much”, but admitted that the “process of dialogue should continue”."We hope that cross-border infiltration, the reports of which we get from time to time, will be addressed," he added. Moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq mixed his welcome with caution. He said that while he supported dialogue between Asif Ali Zardari and PM Manmohan Singh, the "relations between the two neighbours wouldn’t improve till Kashmir issue is resolved". On a wing and a prayer
Chairman of the hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani was more blunt. “The Pakistan President should not forget New Delhi has taken control of J&K against the wishes of its people. Being an important party to the Kashmir issue, Pakistan has supported the Kashmiris’ right of self-determination in every situation... Any ruler of Pakistan, who tries to deviate from country’s stand on Kashmir, will cause damage to the interests of Pakistan as well as Kashmiri nation.”