Srinagar: Noted jurist and head of the
Kashmir Committee Ram Jethmalani on Thursday held meetings with
separatist leaders here including Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali
Shah Geelani and said a solution to the Kashmir issue is not
"I am not claiming that a solution will be reached
today or tomorrow but after the respect, love and gesture
shown by Geelani, I am sure a solution is not far away and not
so difficult to achieve," Jethmalani told reporters after
meeting the Hurriyat hawk at his Hyderpora residence.
He also said that a solution to the vexed issue can be
achieved only through peaceful dialogue.
"A solution to Kashmir has to be found through peaceful
dialogue, without using terrorism, violence and crime," the
BJP MP, who began his five-day tour of the state today as the
head of the panel, said.
Jethmalani said the committee will try to work out a
solution by meeting every stakeholder in the political sphere
of Kashmir and cross sections of Kashmiri society.
"Today I heard Geelani in a conducive and lovely
atmosphere. I told him that it is my responsibility to make
the government and people of the country aware of the
complaints which have become an obstacle in finding a solution
to the Kashmir issue," he said, adding, when the hurdles are
cleared, a solution will emerge automatically.
The Jethmalani-led committee was formed during the
Prime Ministership of AB Vajpayee in 2002 to open a channel
of dialogue mainly with senior separatist leaders in Jammu and
Kashmir. Apart from Jethmalani, other members of the panel are
senior counsel Shanti Bhushan, academic and editor Madhu
Keshwar and journalist M J Akbar.
Jethmalani said the heartening thing is that the people
of Kashmir are more desirious of peace than people in any
other part of the country.
Referring to his recent visit to Pakistan, Jethmalani
said the mood in Pakistan today is of friendship and
"Whatever you might hear in the press or whatever the
politicians keep saying, there is genuine change of atmosphere
and that change of atmosphere will reflect itself in Jammu and
Kashmir and I am quite convinced that a peaceful solution
shall be found and much sooner than people imagine," he said.
Earlier, Geelani said "we do not want a war between
India and Pakistan" but India is involved in an arms race.
"India tops the list of countries importing the war
weapons only to keep Kashmir through the barrel of the gun,"
He alleged even though "India claims to be the biggest
democracy in the world but there is no democracy in Kashmir".
"Kashmir issue should be resolved through peaceful
means and the residents of either side of the dividing line
should be given an opportunity to decide their future," he
The Committee later met the chairman of the moderate
faction of Hurriyat Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and other leaders of
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) headed by
Mohammad Yasin Malik has already refused to meet the Kashmir
Committee, accusing it of playing a role in dividing the
separatist camp in the past.