SRINAGAR – Expressing concern over the attempts to sideline the Kashmir issue by both India and Pakistan, Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Sunday said lasting peace in South Asia would remain elusive as long as the 65-year long dispute was not resolved with the involvement of its basic party, the people of the state.
If the issue is not resolved, the lives of crores of people in the sub-continent will not improve. The issue demands urgent attention and resolution, which cannot be sidelined or put on the back-burner, Mirwaiz said, accusing both India and Pakistan of skirting the core Kashmir issue in an effort to improve their bilateral relations.
Ahead of the proposed weeklong visit of Hurriyat (M) delegation to Pakistan between December 17 and 23, he said, the forum would embark on comprehensive consultations with various sections of the society, including the civil society, trade organizations, intellectuals and lawyers. The idea behind holding the consultations is to evolve an agenda for the upcoming visit, he said.
The first such interface, Mirwaiz said, would be held with around 30 trade bodies, including those connected with the cross-LoC trade, at the Hurriyats Rajbagh headquarters on 20th of this month. He said the water disputes, cross LoC trade and related matters could not be separated from the main Kashmir issue.
Reiterating his demand for inclusion of Kashmiris and their genuine leadership in Indo-Pak talks, Mirwaiz said the conglomerate would urge Pakistan to press for it. We are the principal party to the dispute and no solution can be acceptable to us which does not take our sentiments and aspirations into consideration. They cannot sideline the principal party, he said adding bilateral talks or confidence building measures would not bring any lasting peace to the sub-continent.
He said issues over Siachen and Sir Creek could not be linked with Kashmir. Kashmir is a humanitarian issue. It is not a land dispute between the two countries. Solution of Kashmir issue will pave the way for resolution of all other disputes between the two countries, he added.
Mirwaiz said the process of consultations with different sections of society ahead of the Pakistan visit was important to make it fruitful and beneficial. Pakistan visit is very important. It should be fruitful. We dont want it to be a mere event or photo session. It has to be productive and suggestions from civil society will make it so, he added.
Asked whether the aim of consultations with different civil society groups and trade organizations was aimed at arriving at some kind of a formula for solving Kashmir, he said the primary concern was to ensure that Kashmir issue was not pushed to the back-burner. He said that deliberations would also be held with other separatist leaders outside the Hurriyat Conference.
He said the issues like trade, economy, water and natural resources of the state were also important and could not be separated from Kashmir issue. We want to hold composite consultations regarding different contours of Kashmir along with political, human and economic issues. We wish to get their suggestions on all issues, he said.
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