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Hurriyat leaders return from Pak, PoK visit
Onkar Singh and Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
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June 16, 2005 11:34 IST
Last Updated: June 17, 2005 00:17 IST

The nine-member All Parties Hurriyat Conference delegation reached Srinagar [Images] after a 15-day visit of Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Immediately after reaching Srinagar, the visibly upbeat APHC leaders confirmed that they wanted to meet the Indian leadership so that they could reach a respectable solution to the Kashmir problem.

Eager supporters who had gone to the border town of Uri to receive their leaders brought them back in a vehicular procession of over three dozen private and commercial vehicles.

The earlier plans to accord a grand welcome to the returning leaders had been cancelled following the June 13 car bomb explosion in Pulwama town in which 14 persons lost their lives and over 100 were injured.

"We have shared our views with the leaders in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir. They said what they believed and we said what we believed. It is time the peace process moved really forward so that the Kashmir problem is resolved," former APHC chairman Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat told correspondent Mukhtar Ahmad immediately after his arrival in Srinagar.

"The solution has to be acceptable, honourable and durable,"  Bhat continued.

"We did the talking with the Pakistani leadership and now we will be talking to India as and when the arrangements are finalised. Apparently, we may be doing this in the days to come," Prof Bhat said.

"It was a good visit and let me say this has lend credibility to the ongoing dialogue process as Kashmiris are being involved for the first time to find a solution to the Kashmir problem."

The seven-member APHC delegation was led by chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and included Prof Bhat, Shia leader Moulvi Abbas Ansari, Bilal Ghani Lone, Fazal Haq Qureshi, Ghulam [Images] Mohammad Bhat and Yaqoob Vakil of the Awami Action Committee.

Jammu and Kashmir [Images] Liberation Front chairman Mohammed Yaseen Malik, first to arrive in Srinagar on Thursday evening, was received at the Maisuma headquarters of the JKLF by his supporters.

Talking to media persons at Aman Sethu, Malik said he was happy with the visit. "We exchanged ideas with leaders from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and also the Pakistan government," he said.

Regarding his comments on Pakistan Information Minister Sheikh Rashid, Malik claimed that the media misquoted him.

He said, "I said, 'He gave shelter to Kashmiri militants in his farmhouse.' I didn't say he trained them," Malik said.

 Like Mirwaiz, Malik too insisted that the people of Kashmir should be made party to the peace process.

Meanwhile, the sixth Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus rolled into Srinagar under tight security from the Bemina transport yard this morning.

The bus carrying 15 passengers, which included 14 returnees who came to Srinagar last month to meet their relatives and one local person travelling to Muzaffarabad to meet his relatives, reached Kaman post on Thursday afternoon.

In all, 60 passengers from Muzaffarabad -- which included 32 returnees and 28 freshers -- reached Srinagar on Thursday evening under heavy security.

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