SRINAGAR (ONS) – After some molly-coddling, dissident Hurriyat (M) leader Shabir Ahmad Shah too met the Pakistan High Commissioner, Salman Bashir, in New Delhi on Monday, over a week after the rest of the alliance leadership returned from the trip.
Having earlier opted out of the visit on the pretext of not being informed of the Hurriyat (M)’s decision to take up the Pak envoys invitation, Shah had received a separate letter from the High Commission for the meeting.
During their meeting today, Shah, who has been pressing the Hurriyat (M) to defer its forthcoming visit to Pakistan until after its general elections, told Bashir that talking about the dialogue process (between New Delhi and Islamabad) would be meaningless until India ensured marked changes in the ground situation in Kashmir.
Talking about the dialogue process would be like drawing lines on water unless India withdraws draconian laws in Kashmir, releases political detainees, halts human rights violations and ends the regime of arrests and detentions, a party statement quoted Shah as having told the Pak envoy.
According to the statement, Bashir said that Pak wanted peace and prosperity in the region, but that the Kashmir issue was the biggest obstacle in efforts to advance the cause of peace in South Asia.
The dream of peace in South Asia will not be realised until the Kashmir issue is resolved in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people, the Pak envoy said.
Pakistan respects the right of self-determination of the Kashmiri people and believes that they should be granted the full opportunity to determine their own future, he said.
Shah told Bashir that Kashmir was a political issue, and that it should be resolved by political means.
The Kashmiri people are the primary party to the dispute, and it is an issue of determining their future, as borne out by the resolutions of the UN security council, he said.
The people of Kashmir, who have been fighting for their right of self-determination for the past 65 years, will continue their struggle till they achieve their goal, he said.
Shah expressed satisfaction of the Pakistanis across the board had always supported the Kashmir movement, and thanked the Pak people and government for extending political, diplomatic and moral support to the freedom struggle.
He hoped that the people and government of Pakistan would continue this support until the Kashmir issue was resolved.
Pointing out certain requirements to make the dialogue process meaningful and result-oriented, Shah said that India should effect a marked change in the ground situation in Kashmir if it was serious about a political solution to the Kashmir issue.
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