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Did Mirwaiz meet ISI chief in Europe?

May 22, 2011 17:24 IST

Moderate Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq may have had a secret meeting with the head of Pakistan intelligence agency Inter Services Intelligence Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha in Europe, although he denies that.

Mirwaiz had gone to Brussels to attend a conference on Kashmir on May 3 and 4 and returned to Delhi on May 9.

A number of prominent Pakistani politicians and Kashmiris from Europe and the United States supporting the separatist cause attended the conference.

Sources in Geneva said that the Mirwaiz had travelled there from Brussels after the conference and reportedly met Pasha, who had during that period left Pakistan for a mysterious destination after US operation in Abbottabad that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Pakistani media had reported that Pasha who had come under severe criticism for ISI being caught napping by the Americans, had gone to the US on May 6 but later it was stated that he had gone to some undisclosed country.

Asked about the reports of his meeting with Pasha, Mirwaiz denied even having gone to the Swiss city of Geneva and said, "I did not meet any ISI official during my trip to Europe. I met the political leadership from Pakistan who had come to attend the (Kashmir) conference (in Brussels). I met leaders from Pakistan People's Party, Pakstan Muslim League-Nawaz and Maulana Fazlur Rehman."

Mirwaiz on Sunday held a small rally in North Kashmir's Kupwara area where he said the Hurriyat was ready for a peaceful and negotiated settlement of Kashmir issue but the Centre has to exhibit seriousness by engaging the popular sentiment in the state at a political level.

"The experiment of Interlocutors has been a total failure. If Government is serious and sincere in finding a solution to Kashmir issue, they have to engage with the sentiment and aspirations of people at a political level," the Mirwaiz said.

The moderate faction of Hurriyat had organised a rally at Trehgam in Kupwara to pay tribute to slain separatist leaders Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone who were killed by militants in 1990 and 2002 respectively.

The Mirwaiz said Hurriyat wanted a peaceful solution to Kashmir issue through a dialogue between India, Pakistan and Kashmiri leadership and was willing to discuss various alternatives put forth so far.

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