Continuing its two-pronged strategy, to involve Pakistan in a summit and various Kashmir groups in an internal dialogue, central interlocutor K C Pant is likely to arrive here on Monday, top state officials said.
Kashmiri separatist leader and chief of Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) Shabir Ahmad Shah will announce his decision, on joining the dialogue process, on Monday.
The party general council met here on Saturday and discussed the offer of talks in detail.
"We will announce our strategy only on Monday. I am holding a press briefing on Monday morning. Before that, no comments," Shah told this
Sources said that Pant would leave for Leh, in the cold desert region of Ladakh on Tuesday and meet Buddhist and Muslim leaders. He will visit the Shia-dominated Kargil district on Wednesday and return to
Srinagar the same day to continue his dialogue process
with various pro-India and separatist groups.
This will be Pant's first state visit after his
appointment last month.
Shabir Shah had recently said that he would meet Pant if he visits Srinagar.
The former chief minister and president of Awami
National Conference Ghulam Mohammad Shah had
shown willingness to meet Pant. "I will meet
Pant only in Srinagar," Shah had said recently.
However the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference
(APHC) rejected the talks offer and chairman Prof
Abdul Ghani Bhat said, "The Pant initiative is dead."
Meanwhile most people here described Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's invitation to Pakistan chief executive Gen Pervez Musharraf as a "positive development".
"It has come late and I feel this is a big development
and could lead to a solution to the Kashmir
problem," said Abdul Rashid, a college lecturer.
"However, Kashmiris who are the basic party to the
dispute must be involved."
"Only meaningful talks could lead to a breakthrough. I
think both countries are serious to solve the problem
and restore peace," said Mehraj-Ud-Din a shopkeeper.
"I hope this new initiative does not fail like the six-month ceasefire in Kashmir," said Dr Javed.
The Kashmir Cease-Fire: The Complete Coverage
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