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Why Mirwaiz insisted on crediting Pervez

The Hurriyat leader insisted that Musharraf be credited for pushing the peace dialogue, possible to make it appear a trilateral one.

india Updated: Sep 09, 2005 20:21 IST

A demand to give credit to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf for the India-Pakistan peace process delayed the release of a joint statement after talks between Hurriyat leaders and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, sources here say.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who led the moderate faction of the separatist All Party Hurriyat Conference at the three-hour talks in New Delhi on Monday, insisted that Musharraf be credited for initiating and pushing the India-Pakistan dialogue. The issue of Jammu and Kashmir forms a key part of the dialogue.

"There was a lot of argument on this issue before a compromise language and format was worked out," an informed source said. The demand caused a delay of 20 minutes in the release of the joint statement.

Farooq, who has had at least four meetings with Musharraf since July 2001, repeatedly pointed out to Indian officials that the Pakistan president be credited exclusively for starting the peace dialogue, the source said.

"We don't know the reason for his insistence, but many felt it was odd at that point of time," one source said.

One possible reason could be that Umar wanted to give an impression that it was not a bilateral dialogue, but a trilateral one in which the role of Pakistan and its president should be firmly acknowledged.

It could also have been an attempt by him to blunt the criticism of the pro-Pakistan lobby in Kashmir's separatist spectrum that has been accusing the moderates in the Hurriyat of playing into the hands of the Indian government.

Another reason could be that the Hurriyat Conference believes it needs the Pakistan president's backing to enhance its credibility among the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

At the meeting with the Hurriyat leaders in his 7 Race Course Road official residence on Monday evening, Manmohan Singh offered his government's readiness to consider a series of steps, including a review of arrests made under various anti-terror laws in Kashmir.

This was the Hurriyat's first round of talks with Manmohan Singh since the Congress-led coalition came to power in May last year.

First Published: Sep 07, 2005 15:26 IST