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Five-member Hurriyat team for talks with Advani

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | January 15, 2004 14:09 IST
Last Updated: January 15, 2004 20:06 IST

The All Parties Hurriyat Conference, an umbrella organisation of Kashmiri separatist groups, on Thursday appointed a high-powered team to hold talks with Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani in New Delhi next week.

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Besides the four executive members, the team also includes chairman of the Peoples Political Front, Fazal Haq Qureshi, who mediated between Delhi and Hizbul Mujaheedin during a fortnight-long ceasefire in August 2000.

The team will be led by Chairman Moulvi Abbas Ansari. Others members of the team are: former APHC chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chief spokesman Prof Abdul Gani Bhat and Bilal Gani Lone.

Thursday's joint meeting of the APHC's executive, working committee and general council was presided over by Ansari.

As the Hurriyat leaders were holding the meeting, a powerful car bomb rocked the city injuring one paramilitary trooper. A passing Central Reserve Police Force vehicle was damaged in the explosion.

Two militant outfits on Wednesday threatened the APHC executive members of "dire consequences" for holding talks with the Union government.

While addressing a crowded press conference, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat, however, said: "I don't feel frightened. None of us does. They are our own boys and occasionally talk in sentiment, but as soon as they get to know the dynamics of change, they will agree with us that the only way to resolve Kashmir issue is dialogue.

"Our dialogue will exclusively centre round Kashmir. We will not discuss weather, but only Kashmir," Prof Bhat said.

He denied the "talks were SAARC specific or poll related."

Prof Bhat said: "We would like our boys to be associated with the process and for that we need to go to Pakistan and we will take it up with the government of India.

"We will be talking to both India and Pakistan. There are problems, but we will try our level best to get over the problems and ensure our meeting with both."

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