The Web


Home > News > Report

Centre has no objection to APHC leaders visiting Pak: Patil

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | November 07, 2004 18:08 IST

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil has said the Centre has no objection to All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leaders visiting Pakistan provided they "approach proper channels for such a visit."

"There should be no difficulty for them to visit Pakistan if they approach us [the Centre] through the proper channel. But it is for them to decide whether such a condition should be made a pre-condition for talks," Patil told a news conference in Srinagar on Saturday afternoon.

The moderate faction of the APHC, led by Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, has said it will neither meet the home minister during his Kashmir visit nor continue the dialogue process with New Delhi unless its leaders are allowed to visit Pakistan.

"We respect APHC leaders. We are ready for talks with anyone if that will help stop the bloodshed in Kashmir," Patil said.

The home minister, who arrived in Srinagar on Saturday morning on a three-day visit to the state, had a meeting with Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed at the Raj Bhavan. The over half-an-hour meeting discussed the general situation in the state, Indo-Pak relations, local problems and the security scenario.

"The dialogue process doesn't start with invitation. It starts with dialogue. If an invitation is needed we will do that," Patil said when asked if the Centre will extend invitation to Kashmiri separatist leaders for talks.

On Armed Forces Special Powers Act, he said, "If the militants request for the withdrawal of the Act, we will definitely respond."

Shivraj Patil also met Jammu and Kashmir Governor Lt Gen (Retd) S K Sinha and discussed the overall situation in the state. Patil later met the leaders of various political parties.

Article Tools
Email this article
Top emailed links
Print this article
Write us a letter
Discuss this article

More reports from Jammu and Kashmir

Copyright © 2004 India Limited. All Rights Reserved.