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We talk business, not cricket, with Delhi: Hurriyat
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November 30, 2006 18:45 IST

The moderate Hurriyat Conference, led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, on Thursday sought to clarify its stand on holding dialogue with the Centre, saying the separatist amalgam was talking business and not cricket or weather with New Delhi.

"While exercising a choice, we decided to talk to New Delhi and never about the weather nor cricket, but business to sort out issues and resolve disputes in the larger interests of the entire region's security and stability," senior Hurriyat leader Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat told reporters after an emergency meeting.

As a consequence, he said a huge and historic process was set afoot.

"We are part of that process. We also support the ongoing dialogue process involving India and Pakistan directly and the people of Jammu and Kashmir [Images] represented by the Hurriyat Conference indirectly," Prof Bhat added.

He said the Hurriyat Conference represented the sentiments rooted deep in the soul of Jammu and Kashmir - "We represent the dynamics of change as well. We represent a mix of both the sentiments and the change. Let there be no mistake about it. This is the Hurriyat Conference."

To a question, Prof Bhat said the moderate Hurriyat leaders were ready and prepared to resume talks with New Delhi, provided the Indian leadership so desired.

"It entirely depends on the Indian leadership. If they want to talk to us, we are ready," he added.

Prof Bhat said the Hurriyat leaders would soon visit Pakistan for talks with the leadership there. "We choose to visit Pakistan and New Delhi. We are talking to the leadership of both India and Pakistan," he added.

However, the Hurriyat leader said there have been some hiccups in the dialogue process. "We have experienced some hiccups in the process in the recent past. Hopefully, these would go and we will be talking to both India and Pakistan again," he added.

The Muzaffarabad-based United Jehad Council, a conglomerate of several militant groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir, had accused the Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat Conference of creating confusion by holding talks with India.

"The moderate Hurriyat leaders by holding talks with India have served no purpose. Instead, they are creating confusion," UJC chairman Syed Salahuddin had told local media in an interview from Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

He said the Kashmir issue was not being discussed at all in the talks between New Delhi and the moderate Hurriyat leaders.

"All the three parties to the dispute -- India, Pakistan and the people of Jammu and Kashmir -- are not involved in the dialogue process. Still the Hurriyat Conference (moderate faction) is cleverly trying to describe the dialogue as a genuine process," said Salahuddin who also heads the Hizbul Mujahideen.

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