Panun Kashmir, the party representing displaced Kashmiri Pandits, on Friday welcomed
the Vajpayee government's invitation to General Pervez Musharraf for talks to resolve the Kashmir issue and said its leaders would meet the Pakistan chief executive.
"We will certainly try to meet General Musharraf to present our point of view on
the dispute since the Vajpayee government has largely ignored our plea. We
have changed our stance on J&K and we now think that it should be seen as a
disputed territory," Panun Kashmir spokesman Yuvraj Raina told rediff.com.
"By inviting General Musharraf, the Vajpayee government is giving legitimacy
to Pakistan that it is a party to the dispute. So now we too support the government stance," he pointed out.
For over a decade, Panun Kashmir leaders have been stridently demanding that conditions be created for their return to J&K, from where they had been virtually chased out due to militancy.
"Right from 1947, successive Indian governments have been claiming that J&K is an integral part of India. But we think that J&K is disputed territory. Without Pakistan's participation in talks, the problem cannot be resolved," Raina asserted.
Asked to explain his party's volte face, Raina said, "Two-thirds of Kashmir is occupied by Pakistan and there have been three wars over the state. There is also a United Nations resolution denoting it as disputed territory."
He expressed anguish that "300,000 Pandits have been displaced from J&K and are forced to live outside. We will explain our position to General Musharraf so that we can go back to our homeland."
Raina said his party leaders were already discussing the points they would raise
during their proposed meeting.
"General Musharraf has said that he is willing to meet the Indian leadership anytime, anywhere to solve the Kashmir issue. Now that the Vajpayee-Musharraf summit seems inevitable, we are optimistic that we will get a patient hearing from the General," Raina said.
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