Mirwaiz to visit Pakistan before Manmohan Singh

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Mirwaiz Umar Farooq
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq

Shujaat Bukhari

Calls for strategy to fight Israeli occupation of Masjid al Aaqsa

SRINAGAR: Chairman of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq plans to visit Pakistan for talks next month ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to that country.

"This I think is important as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also visiting Pakistan," he said, adding that he would further the agenda of triangular dialogue.

The Mirwaiz appealed to Muslims to formulate a strategy to wrest control of the Masjid Al Aqsa, the second most sacred place for Muslims,which is presently under Israeli occupation.

The Hurriyat Conference had asked people to observe Jumatul Vida, the last Friday of Ramzan as a day of protest against the continued occupation of Masjid Al Aqsa, increasing human rights violations in Kashmir and continued detention of hundreds of Kashmiris.

The Mirwaiz expressed satisfaction over the pace of the peace process between India and Pakistan. "Unfortunately, there is no improvement in the ground situation. The bloodshed continues, and there is increase in human rights violations," he told a huge gathering at the Jamia Masjid. He said the common Kahmiri youth felt "insecure" about the concentration of troops in the State.

He reiterated the Hurriyat's demand for demilitarisation and said the alliance was in a position to help create a conducive atmosphere for that.

Expressing concern over the plight of political detenus languishing in various jails in and outside Kashmir, the Mirwaiz demanded the unconditional release of all political prisoners. "These people are behind bars on fake charges, and when the High Court orders their release they are re-arrested outside later." He said all detenus should be given facilities under the Geneva Convention.

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