From KO Archives | Centre, Hizb Begin Kashmir Truce Talks

HM Officials Meet HM Commdrs At Nehru Guest House

SRINAGAR: For the first time since the onset of insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir 11-year-ago, the centre and Hizbul Mujahideen militants sat across the table and agreed to pursue modalities for pre-existing grounds for restoration of peace in the valley.

Union home secretary Kamal Pande, who headed the central team, said after neatly two hour meeting with Hizb team that these modalities would be pursued seriously so that the elements opposed to this process (of peace) could be identified and isolated.

He also urged members of negotiating committee from both the sides to work in a spirit of cooperation and finalise further modalities for Implementation of the ground rule: The talks, however were so fat centered mainly on working out condition- for enforcing the ceasefire declared by filth and both sides agreed to carry forward their talks.

The Hizb side was led by its nominated mediator Fazal Haq Qureshi and its deputy chief commander and Chief spokesman for Kashmir valley, Masood, Riaz Rasool and Farooq besides Musaddiq Aadil and Ghulam Muhammad Naikoo both close associates of Qureshi.

Pande said the negotiating teams for further talks shortly would be headed by M B Kaushal special secretary in the home ministry and Khalid Saifullah on the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen side.

Pande evaded reply to a question on reported threat by Hizb to call off the cease-fire on August 8, unless India agreed to unconditional bipartite talks involving Pakistan saying we have discussed modalities for restoration of peace in Kashmir with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Pande said the centre had a keen desire to take this initiative to its logical conclusion and appealed to the people to ex-tend their support to the peace process.

The centre firmly believed that the problem in of Kashmir could be solved only through peaceful dialogue and not through continued militancy, he said.

I congratulate Hizb-ul-Mujahideen leaders on their bold and timely initiative particularly because the people of Kashmir earnestly want peace to be restored in Jammu and Kashmir, he said.

Masood said we are thankful to the government that they responded positively to our offer of cease-fire and added that teams for future talks would consist of six members on each side He also said that his side was serious about the ceasefire and process of restoring peace in the troubled state.

 (Kashmir Observer, August 04, 2000)

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