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Kashmir biggest hurdle in Indio-Pak ties: Mirwaiz

June 11, 2010 17:57 IST

Kashmir remained the biggest hurdle in relations between India and Pakistan and it should top the agenda of any talks between the two countries, moderate Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said on Friday.

"Biggest hurdle in the relations between India and Pakistan is Kashmir issue," he said addressing a Friday congregation at Jamia Masjid in old city.

"Confidence building (between the two countries) is dependent on Kashmir issue, and hence it should top the agenda of the talks", he said. In his speech, the Mirwaiz referred to the alleged fake encounter in Machhil in which three youths were killed allegedly by army on April 30 last.

He said the Hurriyat has no problem with resumption of talks between the two countries but "the talks should not be directionless. They should be carried forward seriously. It should not be a step forward and two steps backward."

Claiming that Kashmir was the core issue between the two countries, the Mirwaiz said Kashmiris have been waiting for the past 63 years for its resolution.

"We will wait for more time. Let India and Pakistan talk first on the issue. We will join later", he said.

Upset over not being invited for talks during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's two-day visit to the state, the Mirwaiz said, "This is not for the first time that any Indian leader has visited Kashmir. Earlier too Prime Ministers had visited Kashmir.

"What we feel is that there is no change in the policy and attitude of the government towards Kashmir."

The Hurriyat chairman demanded release of prisoners, demilitarisation of the state, revocations of black laws and unhindered cross border movement and trade for creation of a conducive atmosphere for talks.

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