NEW DELHI US diplomats were holding secret talks with the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) in this charged and security-ridden Indian capital as the Vajpayee government deliberated whether to extend the “unilateral ceasefire” beyond January 26.
Quoting what it said was a very reliable source, The News report said at least one, or maybe more, diplomats working for the US mission here, was wrong overtime, even on Sun-day. The lady diplomat reportedly held a lengthy meeting with two APHC activists, who maintain regular contacts with New Delhi-based diplomats. As this back-door diplomacy continued, the all-important Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) met to decide whether the army and other security agencies in Kashmir should continue with the policy of “non-initiation of fire.”
Projected as the “unilateral cease-fire,” this policy was hailed all over the world, showing to the “international community” as if New’ Delhi was seriously looking for a lasting solution of the Kashmir problem. It also spread the impression that at tile peak of his political career, which was mostly spent in pursuing the Hindu extremist causes, Vajpayee wanted to get out of the historic prejudices and rigid constructs, developed during 50 years of acrimony between Pakistan and India. The Indian prime minister strengthened the impression through his “musings” on the New Year eve.
But Vajpayee has opponents in his own party and the government, although many in’ New Delhi seriously believe that Vajpayee and Advani have played “good cop-bad cop” by design. Jaswant Singh has also conveyed it to the prime minister’s office that permitting the APHC delegation to Pakistan would eventually lead to “tripartite talks” on Kashmir, a possibility the foreign office mandarins of South Block, vehemently resent.
Many Indian journalists, regularly writing on external affairs, have also begun high-lighting and supporting the South Block’s reservations to APHC delegation going to Pakistan. In the latest issue of prestigious “India Today,” Tavleen Singh author of a well-received book on the Kashmir entangle, had written a very strong column about it.
She insists that APHC delegation wants to go to Pakistan for it would help “Pakistan’s general to establish his belief that the APHC represents the people of Kashmir as distinct from the people of India. This is his way of paving the way for eventual tripartite talks between India, Pakistan and Kashmir. So sitting in distant Islamabad, Pakistan’s unelected government has decided who should represent the Kashmiri people.”
(KASHMIR OBSERVER, 23, January, 2001)
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