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Farooq for talks with Hizb in third country

Former J&K CM has strongly favoured dialogue with Hizbul in a foreign country other than Pakistan in a bid to resolve the Kashmir issue.

india Updated: Aug 21, 2006 15:27 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah has strongly favoured dialogue with Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin in a foreign country other than Pakistan in a bid to resolve the Kashmir issue.

"The talks should be held in complete secrecy and in a country other than India and Pakistan," Abdullah, three-time chief minister of the state, told local TV channel Take 1 in an interview.

Abdullah, whose National Conference party lost the 2002 assembly elections, however, sees his party's proposal of greater internal autonomy that confers complete sovereign powers to Jammu and Kashmir barring external affairs, communications and defence, as the best solution available for resolving the crisis in Kashmir that has become a source of perennial tension between India and Pakistan.

"We have put forward a written document, debate it and then tell us, if there is a better solution available, we will like to study that," Abdullah said, even as he pooh-poohed his party's main rival in Kashmir politics, the People's Democratic Party's call for "self rule" as a "mere slogan".

"This is a slogan not a solution in black and white."

Abdullah, who had been a witness to the first and the last round of talks between Hizbul Mujahideen commanders and the central government in Kashmir in August 2000, wants talks to be resumed with the Hizb leadership.

"Hizb leaders should be invited for talks in a third country, where top secrecy should be maintained. No one should know what is happening till there is some outcome to be made public," Abdullah told the interviewer.

Abdullah also had a piece of advice for his son and National Conference president Omar Abdullah.

"Omar should be more accessible to people and also shun his reserved nature. In public life, you have to be more open and more accessible."

He denied there was any rift between him and his son on any of the major political issues.

"We are two generations, we have our ideas. He is firm, I am flexible. But it is not that we are fighting between ourselves. That is all nonsense."

First Published: Aug 21, 2006 14:08 IST