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August 18, 2000
Hizb chief denies offer to resume talks
Syed Salahuddin, the Pakistan-based chief of the Hizbul Mujahideen, disowned on Friday the statement of Fazal Haq Qureshi, principal negotiator appointed by the extremist outfit for the abortive round of talks with India, that he could consider resumption of the dialogue without insisting on Pakistan's inclusion in the initial phase.
Firm on Pakistan's involvement in any future dialogue, Salahuddin said in a statement in Islamabad that Qureshi had no right to issue any statement on the Hizb's behalf.
Commander Masood in the Kashmir valley and Saleem Hashmi are the only two authorised spokesmen for the outfit, he said.
Salahuddin said, "The principled stand of the Hizbul Mujahideen is crystal clear. We consider Kashmir a dispute between three parties -- India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir. There could be progress if India is ready to accept this reality."
Qureshi had said in Srinagar on Thursday that Salahuddin had offered a comprehensive ceasefire based on a new formula in which Pakistan could enter the proposed dialogue at a later stage.
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