Hardliners In Kashmir Must Revise Outlook: Mirwaiz

SRINAGAR: Describing the Hurriyat (M)’s visit to Pakistan as “a small step in the right direction,” its chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday called upon hardliners in the separatist leadership in Kashmir to change their perception with respect to working out a solution to the Kashmir issue.

“They should give up their politics of status quo which benefits no one but themselves,” the Mirwaiz, who is leaving for Islamabad on Saturday, said in an interview in New Delhi.  

“I think they should change their outlook,” he said.

The Mirwaiz was replying to a question on Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s opposition to separatist leaders visiting Pakistan.

“Unfortunately, some voices in Kashmir brand us as traitors when we talk to India, and pin us with the sell-out label when we talk to Pakistan,” the Mirwaiz said, without naming anybody.

“If they have any solution, why don’t they come forward with it?” he said.

“Resolving the Kashmir issue overnight is not possible, and our visit to Pakistan is a beginning,” he said. “It is a small step in the right direction.”

“In Pakistan we will put across the point of view of the Kashmiri people with respect to resolving the long-standing question,” he said. “We want that both countries should resolve all outstanding issues, including Kashmir, to build stronger relations where the Kashmir is the basic stumbling block.”  

When asked whether the Hurriyat (M) would talk to New Delhi after returning from Pakistan, the Mirwaiz said: “We want the Srinagar-Delhi dialogue to move forward, but make it clear that it should be transparent.”

“The government of India has to address the trust deficit with respect to Kashmir,” he said. “Isn’t it ironic that New Delhi has not been able to take any decision with on withdrawing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act even when pro-India parties like the National Conference have been demanding its repeal?”

“Even incremental relief on the ground in Kashmir can help reduce the trust deficit with New Delhi,” he said.

“India and Pakistan should undertake further confidence building measures like easing people-to-people contact, providing banking facilities for cross-LoC trade, and facilitating and promoting intra-Kashmir dialogue,” he said.

The Mirwaiz that during his talks with the Pakistan foreign minister, he would ask for the route to the Hindu holy site of Shardah in Pak-administered-Kashmir to be opened for pilgrims from this side of Kashmir.

Accompanied by the Hurriyat (M) executive members Maulana Abbas Ansari, Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat, Agha Syed Hassan, Bilal Ghani Lone, Muhammad Musaddiq Aadil and Mukhtar Ahmad Waza, the Mirwiaz is leaving for Islamabad on Saturday.

During the 8-day trip, the Hurriyat leaders are scheduled to meet the Paksitan president Asif Ali Zardar, prime minister Raja Paverz Ashraf, foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Muslim League (N) chief Mian Nawaz Sharief, Tehreek-e-Insaaf Party chief Imran Khan, the head of Pakistan’s parliamentary committee on Kashmir Maulana Fazl-ur-Rahman and other prominent figures.

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