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Hurriyat reacts cautiously to Musharraf's proposal
October 26, 2004 14:09 IST
The two factions of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference on Tuesday reacted cautiously to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's proposal to demilitarise some regions of Kashmir on both sides of the Line of Control and grant them automomy.
"Hurriyat's stand is very clear on such issues. Either people of Jammu and Kashmir should be given the right to self determination or a tripartite dialogue should be held to find a solution to the Kashmir issue," hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani said in Srinagar.
He said Musharraf's suggestion was just one of the many formulae that have been proposed for the resolution of the long-standing dispute.
"All formulae and suggestions, other than implementation of the UN resolution on Kashmir, have to be discussed during the tripartite talks involving India, Pakistan and the freedom-loving people of the state. There can be other suggestions as well which could be debated," he said.
The moderate faction of the Hurriyat led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq also gave a guarded reaction to Musharraf's proposal.
"Musharraf must have put forth this suggestion as one of the possibilities. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Musharraf during a meeting in New York had decided to explore possibile solutions to the dispute. The suggestion would have been a result of that dialogue," former chairman of the amalgam Abdul Gani Bhat said.
He said he saw nothing wrong in Musharraf's proposal as demilitarisation of Jammu and Kashmir will be a welcome step.
"Pakistan has introduced an element of flexibility in its stance on Kashmir. We hope that India will also give a positive response and show similar flexibility," he added.
Bhat, however, reserved his comment on the remarks made by Musharraf on a plebiscite and the conversion of Line of Control into international border, saying, "We would like to see the full text of the proposals first. We will meet and then react."
Democratic Freedom Party president Shabir Ahmad Shah welcomed Musharraf's proposal saying it provided a window of opportuinity for India.
"India should grab this opportunity keeping in mind the ground realities as this [Musharraf's statement] could pave the way for a lasting solution to the Kashmir issue," Shah, who is currently on a tour of Jammu, said.
Shah said: "I feel Musharraf's statement was based on realities. We should also look into it with an open mind and support the process. Kashmiris strongly believe in dialogue. Tripartite talks among the concerned parties on Kashmir can lead to a lasting solution," he added.