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'Pak scribes' visit stage managed'
October 07, 2004 18:35 IST
Last Updated: October 07, 2004 18:37 IST
The 18-member team of Pakistani journalists on Thursday called on separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who described the visit as a tactic by the Indian government to divert attention from the Kashmir issue.
"There is no sincerity of purpose in allowing you to visit Jammu and Kashmir," Geelani, who heads the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference, told the delegation led by South Asian Free Media Association secretary general Imtiaz Alam.
Geelani said "the main objective of the government of India in permitting the scribes to visit the state is to use it as a tactic to hinder and delay the resolution of Kashmir problem."
"Many delegations have visited Kashmir. The basic objective in allowing these people, to visit the state has been to divert attention from Kashmir problem and create an impression that people of India and Pakistan want peace and to gear up Jammu and Kashmir for peace," the firebrand leader said.
On the issue of migrant Kashmiri Pandits, Geelani said, "We have been requesting them to return to their homes and hearths, but we are opposing creation of separate safety zones for them as it would be discriminatory against the majority community."
Meanwhile, Pakistan-based United Jehad Council -- an umbrella group of over a dozen militant outfits -- alleged that the visit by Pakistani journalists was aimed at driving a wedge between the people of Kashmir and Pakistan.
"The visit of Pakistani journalists to Kashmir is meant to create a wide gulf between Kashmiris and Pakistanis," the group headed by Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Salahuddin said in a statement to the local newspapers.
On Wednesday, the Pakistani journalists visited Gulmarg ski resort and later had dinner with Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yaseen Malik.
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