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Geelani has not softened his stand on Kashmir

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | June 16, 2004 23:51 IST

Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chairman of the breakaway All Parties Hurriyat Conference, has not changed his stand on the Kashmir issue.

He admitted meeting former Union law minister Ram Jethmalani, chairman of the Kashmir Committee comprising prominent citizens, but denied his faction has agreed to hold talks on the issue with the Centre's representative.

"What I had (earlier) said was: let us first get an invitation to join the talks. Then we will discuss whether to accept the offer," he told rediff.com from his residence in Srinagar.

He refused to divulge details of his recent discussions with Jethmalani who had suggested a four-point formula to solve the Kashmir issue.

Geelani does not mind the Centre holding talks with the Hurriyat faction led by Maulvi Abbas Ansari but wants it to 'broaden the framework and talk to others as well'.

He hopes that when India and Pakistan discuss Kashmir, they would keep the people of Jammu and Kashmir in mind and involve them in finding an amicable solution to the 56-year-old problem.

Geelani has always favoured a plebiscite to decide the fate of Kashmir. "Why are you accusing me of raking up this issue again? I had never given up this demand. Both India and Pakistan must implement the United Nations resolution on Kashmir and people from both sides of Kashmir should participate in the plebiscite," he told rediff.com.

He wants the people to decide whether they want to stay with India, Pakistan or be an independent nation.


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