ARIF SHAFI WANI | Greater Kashmir
Srinagar, Mar 16: The chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M), Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said on Monday Hurriyat was ready to resume talks with New Delhi, but maintained that the dialogue should be meaningful and aimed at resolution of the Kashmir dispute, rather than being a mere formality.
“We want the talks should be held in a conducive atmosphere. However, before the talks, we expect New Delhi to release political prisoners and thousands of Kashmiri youth languishing in its jails, revoke the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and stop harassment of people. Killings and talks can’t go together,” Mirwaiz said, adding that the talks would be possible after formation of the new government at the centre.
“We are for any dialogue which is aimed at resolution of Kashmir dispute. We believe that meaningful talks only can help resolve the dispute and are ready to take the process to its logical end,” Mirwaiz told Greater Kashmir.
Mirwaiz blamed the successive regimes of India for delaying Kashmir resolution by holding elections in the state. “New Delhi can’t afford to linger on the dispute. It has to come out of its denial mode and escapism,” he said.
In 2004, Mirwaiz said, New Delhi had to recognize the Hurriyat Conference as the representatives of Kashmiris and initiate talks on Kashmir. “But after a few rounds the dialogue process was stopped apparently to hamper Kashmir resolution. Elections can’t be an alternative to the Kashmir resolution. Polls have given birth to a government which doesn’t have even power to initiate probe against the erring armed forces,” he said.
Mirwaiz warned that any delay in resolution of the Kashmir dispute could have serious repercussions. “If India and Pakistan keep talking only with each other, they can’t achieve any breakthrough. Kashmiris have borne the brunt of animosity between them. They are the principal party to the dispute and the two countries have to talk to them to achieve a lasting and amicable solution,” he said.
Referring to the recent statement of chief minister, Omar Abdullah, in which he had stressed initiation of the dialogue with pro-freedom leadership without drawing boundaries, Mirwaiz said, “now New Delhi’s representatives too are raising their voice for resolution of the Kashmir dispute through dialogue.”
Mirwaiz expressed satisfaction over the interest of international community, particularly the United States president, Barrack Hussain Obama, for supporting peaceful resolution of Kashmir.