Second round of PM-Hurriyat talks tomorrow

The meeting will play a "crucial" role in the separatist leaders' decision to attend the Kashmir conclave on May 25.

india Updated: May 02, 2006 15:37 IST

A six-member delegation of the Hurriyat Conference, led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, will hold the second round of talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday.

"Fresh and concrete" proposals aimed at resolving the Kashmir issue are expected to be presented at the talks.

Manmohan Singh will seek an assurance from the separatist leaders at the meeting, held seven months after the first round on September 5 in 2005, regarding their participation in the May 25 Kashmir roundtable in Srinagar.

The meeting will play a "crucial" role in the separatist leaders' decision to attend the Kashmir conclave.

The Hurriyat Conference, however, will not submit a fresh list of demands to the Prime Minister.

The six-member delegation will comprise Professor Abdul Ghani Bhat, Maulana Abbas Ansari, Bilal Ghani Lone, Fazal Haq Qureshi and Aga Syed Hassan, besides the Mirwaiz.

The Prime Minister is likely to be assisted by National Security Advisor MK Narayanan, Principal Secretary to the PM TKA Nair and Jammu and Kashmir interlocutor NN Vohra, besides other officials at the meeting.

The Mirwaiz said that Wednesday's meeting would focus on proposals aimed at finding a permanent and amicable solution to the Kashmir issue.

"No action was taken on our demands presented during the first meeting with Dr Singh in September last year," the Mirwaiz said.

However, Mirwaiz Farooq said that the Hurriyat leaders will put forth some "fresh and concrete" proposals to the Prime Minister.

"Our main focus this time will be on finding a permanent and amicable solution to the Kashmir issue," he added.

The Mirwaiz said that the second round of talks with the Prime Minister would be in continuation with the "triangular dialogue process" between India, Pakistan and the Hurriyat Conference.

The Hurriyat leaders have met Pakistani leadership, including President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, several times after last year's talks with Singh, he added.

"At the meeting, we will also discuss the outcome of our talks with the Pakistani leadership," the Hurriyat chairman said.

About the second roundtable, the Mirwaiz said the Hurriyat Conference would take a decision on taking part in the conference only after its talks with the Prime Minister on May 3.

"The Hurriyat Conference did not take part in the first round-table conference in New Delhi because we did not want to become a part of the crowd. Important issues were not discussed and resolved at a crowded meeting," he added.

Sources said the Hurriyat leaders wanted to hold separate discussions with the Prime Minister to explain their stand on several issues, including the roundtable.

Almost all top separatists, including the Hurriyat leaders, did not attend the first roundtable, held at the Prime Minister's 7 Race Course Residence on February 25.

After receiving the invitation on April 28, the Mirwaiz termed the Prime Minister's decision as "good and appropriate".

"It is a good and appropriate decision. The main problem is between New Delhi and the Hurriyat Conference. Therefore, New Delhi should hold talks with the separatists only," the Mirwaiz said.

First Published: May 02, 2006 15:31 IST