NATIONAL

``Complete shift'' in Pakistan's policy on Kashmir: Geelani

SRINAGAR, MARCH 24. The chairman of the breakaway faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, has said that Pakistan had softened its stand on the Kashmir issue, saying the current developments in India-Pakistan relations reflected this. He said the resumption of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service was, in fact, an ``Indian agenda.''

Mr. Geelani, who, for the first time, boycotted the Pakistan Day celebrations at the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi on Wednesday, told The Hindu that there was a ``complete shift'' in Pakistan's policy on Kashmir under the President Pervez Musharraf regime. ``We wanted to register our protest against it,'' he said.

He said he was against the bus service. The recent developments in India-Pakistan relations were witness to the fact that Pakistan had brought about a ``lot of dilution'' in its Kashmir policy. ``We had never felt so far that Pakistan was not supporting [the] Kashmir cause, but now we feel that Pakistan's official policy regarding Kashmir issue has changed,'' said Mr. Geelani.

He said the resumption of the bus service was basically an ``Indian agenda''.

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