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Kashmiri leaders dump bus; take own transport

Last updated on: June 02, 2005 12:32 IST

Nine Kashmiri separatist leaders embarked on a historic journey on Thursday morning to visit Muzaffarabad and interact with Pakistan authorities.

Mirwaiz Omar Farooq led a seven-member team of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference.

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yassin Malik traveled separately in his car accompanied by vice-chief of Democratic Freedom Party Mohammad Abdullah Tari.

The JKLF chief decided not to take the bus after authorities refused to clear the front's 17 members for the recently-inaugurated Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus.

DFP chief Shabir Ahmad Shah and other members of his delegation could not travel as the designate travel authority rejected their applications.

Shah had told media persons on Wednesday that he had mentioned his nationality as 'Kashmiri' instead of 'Indian' in the entry permit form.

Hundreds of supporters, chanting pro-freedom slogans, carried APHC chairman Mirwaiz Omar Farooq from the Awami Action Committee headquarters in downtown Srinagar to the Hurriyat's Rajbagh headquarters.

Chief of Muslim Conference professor Abdul Gani Bhat, former Hurriyat chairman Moulvi Abbas Ansari, Peoples Conference chief Bilal Gani Lone and Peoples Political Front Fazal Haq Qureshi joined Mirwaiz.

The separatist leaders used their own private transport to reach Kaman bridge, the last post on the Indian side before the Line of Control.

They did not board the fifth Srinagar Muzaffarabad bus that rolled out on Thursday carrying 22 passengers, 21 of whom were returnees.

"We will try to interact with people with various perceptions. Kashmiris have to be involved in the process for the resolution of the dispute," Mirwaiz told reporters before starting the journey at Rajbagh.

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Shabir Shah can't go to Muzaffarabad
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