Manmohan to meet Lone on Kashmir issue
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Manmohan to meet Lone on Kashmir issue

Manmohan Singh was set to meet People's Conference chief Sajjad Ghani Lone on the Kashmir issue on Saturday.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2006 17:23 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was set to meet People's Conference chief Sajjad Ghani Lone on the Kashmir issue on Saturday, with a party source saying the talks would not reflect any "pressure from Pakistan".

Lone is heading a five-member delegation, comprising Peer Hafeezullah Makhdoomi, Qazi Yaseer (Mirwaiz, south Kashmir), Rashid Mehmood and lawyer Rashid Lone, for the talks to be held at the residence of the Prime Minister in the evening.

A team member said the delegation would discuss with the Prime Minister "Kashmir-centric" issues without any "ideological baggage or pressure from Pakistan".

"The People's Conference delegation has no pressure from any side. It is not under any compulsion from across the border to push a certain agenda," he said while alluding to the moderate Hurriyat Conference leaders who have regularly been holding consultations with the Pakistani leadership on the peace process.

Before his departure from Srinagar, Lone said he would emphasise the identification of other parties and individuals whose inclusion in the dialogue process was necessary to resolve the Kashmir issue.

Asserting that only dialogue could resolve the vexed issue, Lone said violence could never be a means to achieve an objective.

The invitation to Lone makes it clear that the Indian government's talks with Kashmiri groups would not remain confined only to the Hurriyat.

Singh has decided to hold talks with every separatist leader and grouping in the state to try to find a solution to the Kashmir issue.

Other separatist leaders, including Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Front leader Shabir Shah, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yaseen Malik and Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Liberation Front leader Hashim Qureshi are also expected to be called for talks.

Lone also emphasised that he welcomed New Delhi's initiative to talk to all constituents who had a stake in the Kashmir issue.

"In the backdrop of violence, dialogue is imperative. I am happy the Prime Minister is talking to everyone who is necessary for an inclusive Kashmir participation."

First Published: Jan 14, 2006 17:23 IST