Kashmir panel to talk to 'certain Pak elements'
Press Trust of India, PTI
New Delhi, October 28, 2002
First Published: 19:58 IST(28/10/2002)
Last Updated: 20:45 IST(28/10/2002)
Kashmir Committee headed by former Law Minister Ram Jethmalani on Monday decided to hold talks with "certain elements" in Pakistan after holding wide-ranging parleys with visiting senior U.S. Official Richard Haas and Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Bhat on efforts to find an amicable solution to the decade-old militancy problem in the State.
"We will wait till a person gets sworn-in as the Prime Minister of Pakistan and then initiate steps to hold formal talks with certain elements there who are willing to join the process for finding a peaceful solution to the militancy problem," Jethmalani said.
This emerged after the Committee, also comprising eminent editors Dileep Padgaonkar and M J Akbar, former diplomat V K Grover and convenor of the committee Ashok Bhan, held talks with Bhat and Haas. "The Committee has been in touch with these elements in Pakistan," he said.
Jethmalani said the Pakistan national Human Rights Commission chairman is expected to visit India soon and added the Committee will hold talks with him.
On the talks with Haas, he said "We tried to find out how the U.S. Government could help us in finding a solution to the problem and in turn assured them our help in their task."
He termed the talks with Bhat as "constructive" and said "we impressed upon Bhat that we should take some steps forward after the polls."
Asked about the Committee's visit to Kashmir, he said it was likely to take place in mid-November so as to give time to the Government and the Chief Minister time to settle down.