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Mufti welcomes Indo-Pak moves

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | January 06, 2004 22:22 IST

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed on Tuesday hailed India and Pakistan's decision to resume talks in February as a "milestone in the process towards lasting peace in the region".

"I and the people of Jammu and Kashmir have a special reason to be happy at the turn of events, as it is the vindication of our stand for peace," the CM said.

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In a statement the Mufti said, "Forces of peace have at last asserted themselves and emerged triumphant. This would be the turning point for both the countries, especially the people of Jammu and Kashmir who have suffered immensely due to over 50 years' confrontation.

"Kashmir has become an epicentre of peace as the entire process of reconciliation and friendship started from here only."

Chairman of the breakaway group of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, said, "I congratulate both India and Pakistan for agreeing to resume dialogue on all issues, including Kashmir."

Professor Abdul Gani Bhat, senior leader of the Abbas Ansari faction of the Hurriyat, said: "India and Pakistan have made a very good beginning. Let us hope that the process is consolidated.

"The Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf should devote their energies towards converting the beginning to a culmination."

The dates for holding talks with Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani "are yet to be finalised", he said. "We want to hold talks with both the governments."

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More reports from Jammu and Kashmir
Read about: The Road to Peace | Kargil Crisis

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