APHC yet to name delegation for talks with Singh
By Iftikhar Gilani
NEW DELHI: Having accepted Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s invitation, the moderate faction of the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) has failed to name the delegation that would accompany Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to the talks.
At a joint meeting of the executive council on Thursday, the general council, working committee and second rung leaders jostled to be included in the delegation that would hold talks with the Indian prime minister. Hurriyat spokesman Abdul Majeed Banday told reporters in Srinagar that the meeting had authorised Mirwaiz to nominate members of the delegation. However, Hurriyat sources said a six-member delegation led by Mirwaiz would arrive New Delhi on Sunday. The talks are scheduled to take place at the prime minister’s official Race Course residence at 7:00pm on Monday.
Besides the four executive committee members – Mirwaiz, Bilal Ghani Lone, Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat and Maulana Muhammad Abbas Ansari, the team will include Aga Syed Hassan and Fazl Haq Qureshi. Aga Syed Hassan, a prominent Shia leader, had recently defected from hardline leader Syed Ali Geelani’s APHC faction at Islamabad’s instance.
The September 5 meeting between Manmohan and Hurriyat will be its first with the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and will be held nine days ahead of Manmohan’s scheduled meeting with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in New York. Hurriyat had held two rounds of talks with then deputy prime minister LK Advani in January and March last year during the BJP-led NDA regime.
“It was unanimously decided to accept Manmohan’s invitation for talks with a view to proceed with seriousness, imagination and courage to find an acceptable and durable solution to the Jammu and Kashmir issue in the larger interest of the people of the region,” Abdul Majeed Banday read from a prepared statement. Accepting Manmohan’s invitation, former Hurriyat chairman Maulana Abbas Ansari said, “New Delhi has realised that a lasting solution to the Kashmir issue can’t be found without including Kashmiris in the dialogue process.”
Ansari also said it was Hurriyat’s wish to meet Indian and Pakistani leaders and the “alliance is happy to note that India has realised to push the peace process forward”.
Reports from Srinagar stated that a tight security cordon was thrown around Hurriyat headquarters where Thursday’s meeting took place.