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Permanent Kashmir solution not without Pakistan: Padgaonkar

Noted journalist Dileep Padgaonkar said the interlocutors' team would look at a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue but added that it would not be possible without Pakistan's involvement.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2010 18:08 IST

Noted journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, who arrived in Srinagar on Saturday along with the other two interlocutors on Kashmir, said the team would look at a permanent solution to the issue but added that it would not be possible without Pakistan's involvement.

"We are here to look for a permanent solution to the Kashmir dispute but a permanent solution is not possible without the involvement of Pakistan," Padgaonkar said while informally talking to reporters.

He said the main focus of their visit was to interact with the youth and they would "go beyond" the 15-minute traditional sessions as the youth are the future of the state.

The three interlocutors - Padgaonkar, academician Radha Kumar and information commissioner MM Ansari - arrived in the afternoon on their first visit to the Kashmir Valley after being nominated as interlocutors.

Both the hardline and the moderate Hurriyat groups headed by Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, respectively, have stated they would not meet the team and also asked local trade and student unions not to speak to them.

Padgaonkar, however, expressed hope that the team would be able to break the ice and meet a cross-section of Kashmir society during their four-day visit.

"We have no protocol hassles. We will knock the doors of those who don't come to meet us," Padgaonkar said.

He added that though they have a mandate for one year, they would be submitting interim reports every month.

"There are no borders to our discussions. We will discuss all aspects of the Kashmir dispute with various shades of opinion across the state," Padgaonkar said.

The three interlocutors had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday and said he wanted them to look for a political solution to the lingering crisis and especially speak to "youth and women".

Thousands of people have died since insurgency began in Jammu and Kashmir in 1989. While things were beginning to look up last year, the state was plunged into a fresh crisis after stone-pelting protesters started clashing with the security forces. At least 110 people have been killed in the ongoing unrest since June 11.

First Published: Oct 23, 2010 17:43 IST