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APHC's emergency meeting on Thursday

Onkar Singh in Delhi and Mukhtar Ahmed in Srinagar | October 22, 2003 14:28 IST
Last Updated: October 22, 2003 15:52 IST

All Parties Hurriyat Conference chief Moulavi Abbas Ansari on Wednesday welcomed Union government's offer to open talks with the APHC.

Also see: Government ready to talk to Hurriyat

He, however, said Delhi must clearly spell out "the agenda for the proposed talks."

Talking to in New Delhi, Ansari said he has convened an emergency meeting of APHC on Thursday in Srinagar.

"I am flying back to Srinagar tomorrow morning. We would hold an emergency meeting and then decide the course of action," he said.

The Hurriyat Conference has all along insisted that the dialogue offer must come from none less than the country's prime minister.

Ansari has been in Delhi for over 15 days now for the treatment of one of his grandchildren, who suffers from a kidney  problem.

"We had all along been insisting that there should be a level playing field. We refused to talk to N N Vohra because he was simply a government servant. It makes sense for us to talk to Advani, who holds a key position in the government," he said.

"I hope it [the talks] are not just limited to offering the Hurriyat Conference something on the platter and ask us to participate in the government," the Moulavi said.

Asked if he would invite Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the leader of the breakaway faction of APHC, to participate in the deliberations, Ansari said Geelani had rejected such overtures in the past.

"We are meeting for sure. If Geelani wants to join us tomorrow he is welcome," he added.

The APHC chief said this new Delhi initiative could open the door for the Hurriyat to visit Pakistan at a later stage.

"We want peace in Kashmir. For that India, Pakistan and Kashmiris must sit together and find out a solution. We have had enough bloodshed. Now we want peace with dignity," he said.

In Srinagar, former Hurriyat chief Prof Abdul Gani Bhat refused a comment. "We will not give any reaction. We are meeting tomorrow and after detailed deliberations we will give our reaction," he said.


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