New Delhi: Ahead of attending the Pakistan Day function here tomorrow, moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said on Sunday that the faction wants to lend complete support towards any dialogue between India and Pakistan.
“Hurriyat wants to lend full support to India-Pak dialogue,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told reporters on his arrival in the national capital.
He further maintained that the people of Jammu and Kashmir must be engaged in the dialogue, calling for talks to be held at a bureaucratic as well as political level.
“They need to involve people of J&K in this, and when I say people, I mean people on both sides of ceasefire line,” he added, ANI reported.
Urging the governments of India and Pakistan to initiate talks between both the countries, Farooq said, “65 years have gone by, bone of contention is Kashmir. We feel let it be a beginning of new era where there is dialogue, not just at bureaucratic level but also political level.”
However, admitting that the Kashmir issue can never be solved militarily, the separatist leader called for a political process to address the matter.
"Kashmir can never have a military solution. If we want to end violence, we need to have a parallel political process so that we can move forward towards a resolution,” he said, adding, “The Hurriyat primarily believes that the Kashmir problem is a political problem - it is not a problem of good or bad governance, it is not a territorial dispute, it is not a regional dispute - it a problem of the people. Let a political initiative be taken and we are ready to support it," Farooq said.
The separatists leader further said, “During our meeting with Pakistani High Commissioner and his team the emphasis is going to be that while we support India-Pak dialogue, we also feel that it has to involve people of Kashmir and it has to graduate from bureaucratic level to political level.”
Mirwaiz meets Basit
The separatists leader, who is leading a team of seven members to participate in the Pakistan Day celebrations, later, met Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit to understand Islamabad's stand at the recent Foreign Secretary-level talks held between India and Pakistan besides informing him of the "ground situation" in the state.
Besides the Mirwaiz, others in the delegation included Abdul Gani Bhat, Maulana Abbas Ansari, Bilal Gani Lone, Aga Syed Hassan, Mussadiq Adil and Mukhtar Ahmad Waza.
This meeting comes a fornight after Basit had gone to the Delhi residence of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and updated him about the talks.
The separatists leaders have been invited for Pakistan Day function in the national capital scheduled to be held tomorrow.
Basit says Pak looking forward to PM Modi's visit: Mirwaiz
Shortly after the meeting, Mirwaiz said, “Meeting was good, talked about new start between both countries. All stake holders should try to solve the issue between both countries.”
“Focus should be to lend strength & support to talks between two governments. In coming year Indian PM would be going to Pakistan for SAARC conference, that is also an opportunity to build on a certain thing,” he added.
Reiterating for a dialogue between India and Pakistan, Mirwaiz said, “If two PMs at political level can really initiate a process that can set ball rolling, it’s the key.”
“I believe the opportunity which was created when Mr Nawaz Sharif visited Delhi that could be recreated. Mindset has to change, Hurriyat & people of Kashmir, we are not hindering anything. If you are not talking & deliberating on issues how do you move forward. Violence can be finished when you strengthen political problems at political level, need to strengthen political process,” he added.
Basit also told Mirwaiz that Islamabad was waiting for a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and wanted to move forward on all outstanding issues before it took place.
This was conveyed to the Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq when he met Basit here.
“We also want that the talks between the two countries should graduate to political level from the bureaucratic level. I was told by the Pakistani envoy that Islamabad hoped that the Indian Prime Minister will visit Pakistan,” Mirwaiz told, PTI reported.
The Hurriyat presence at the Pakistan Day celebrations comes after the meeting held between separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Islamabad's envoy Abdul Basit in New Delhi earlier on March 9.
Basit and Geelani had reportedly discussed the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, with the Pakistani envoy also appraising the separatist leader of Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar's visit to Islamabad.
Jaishankar met with his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Chaudhary in Islamabad, earlier this month, during which they discussed various issues including "concerns and interests" of the two countries.
The Mirwaiz said Hurriyat Conference always wanted that the two countries should be talking and resolving all outstanding issues including Kashmir. This faction of the Hurriyat had always advocated negotiations between the two countries and had earlier held talks with the previous NDA regime led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and UPA government of Manmohan Singh.
The Narendra Modi government had cancelled Foreign Secretary-level talks in August last year after Basit had met Kashmiri separatist leaders ahead of meeting, ignoring calls by the Indian government not to go ahead with it.
However, after the BJP entered into an alliance with PDP in Jammu and Kashmir, it was agreed that every stakeholder "irrespective of their ideological views and predilections" will be taken on board.
The alliance for agenda of the PDP-BJP said "coalition Government will facilitate and help initiate a sustained and meaningful dialogue with all internal stakeholders, which will include all political groups irrespective of their ideological views and predilections. This dialogue will seek to build a broad-based consensus on resolution of all outstanding issues of Jammu and Kashmir".
Pakistan Day commemorates the Lahore Resolution of 1940 and the adoption of the first constitution of the country during its transition into an Islamic Republic on March 23, 1956.
(With Agency inputs)