B. Muralidhar Reddy

Willing to meet anyone, says Mirwaiz

ISLAMABAD: The visiting Hurriyat delegation on Tuesday travelled to Muzaffarabad, capital city of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) flattened in the aftermath of the October 8 earthquake, and exchanged views on relief and rehabilitation of the quake victims.

The three-member delegation led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was received by Prime Minister of PoK Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan at the Prime Minister House. President of PoK Sardar Anwar Khan and several other leaders of PoK were present.

Abdul Ghani Bhat and Bilal Lone are the other members of the delegation. The APHC leaders will return home on Saturday after a visit to Islamabad.

Historic interaction

The Hurriyat leaders are in Muzaffarabad to essentially share the grief of the quake victims in PoK and discuss ideas on how they could help in the relief and rehabilitation process. Their fortnight long visit in June last year was termed historic as it kicked off the informal interaction between the leaders of Kashmir on either side of the Line of Control (LoC).

As in June, the Hurriyat leaders intend to travel to Islamabad for a meeting with President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. In their interaction with the Pakistani leadership they intend to exchange views on a resolution of the Kashmir problem.

On their arrival at Lahore on Monday night the Hurriyat leaders complained that the objective of opening five checkpoints along the LoC to facilitate travel of Kashmiris across had been 'defeated by the tedious procedure' adopted by the Indian Government for issuance of travel documents.

"I don't think more than 40-50 people have used these five points for travel because of the intransigence of New Delhi. It takes the Indian Government months to issue travel documents to those who wish to go to Azad Kashmir from any one of these points; it is easier to travel on Indian passport to Pakistan and Azad Kashmir," the Mirwaiz told reporters.

In answer to a question, the leaders said they would meet anyone, even United Jihad Council chairman Syed Salahuddin, if he wanted to meet them.

'United Kashmir'

On Kashmir, the Mirwaiz said no solution to the Kashmir problem that maintained status quo or divided the State was acceptable to the APHC.

"The issue involves 14 million people. We'll accept only that solution which encompasses the entire State.

We want to find out a durable solution to the problem in consultation with the leadership of Azad Kashmir. The strategy we formulate will be presented to the governments of India and Pakistan," he said.