NATIONAL

Include people in peace talks: Yasin Malik

NEW DELHI, MARCH 17. The chairperson of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Yasin Malik, has expressed his desire to meet the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh and the Pakistan President, General Pervez Musharraf, to convey to them the sentiments of the Kashmiri people on including them in the dialogue for resolving the Kashmir issue.

Speaking at the inauguration of an exhibition "Voices of peace, voices of freedom'' — a signature campaign among the people of the Valley seeking a role in the India-Pakistan dialogue — Mr. Malik said he wanted to meet the two leaders and appeal to them to respect and accept the verdict of the people who wanted to participate in resolving the conflict.

Mr. Malik, who began a freedom movement in Kashmir in the late 80s, is now treading the non-violent path to bring peace in the Valley. He has been touring the State, collecting signatures from about 15-lakh people who want their voice to be heard in the peace process. "The confidence-building measures (CBMs) between the two countries so far have ignored the Kashmiris,'' he said. The Governments of India and Pakistan did not have the will to genuinely initiate a peace process. "I have now got the signatures of 15 lakh people who want to be included in the peace process. Please do not breach their trust for, the results could be disastrous and there can be no solution without their participation."

Expressing solidarity with Mr. Malik, the Pakistan High Commissioner to India, Aziz Khan, said Kashmiris had a role to play in resolving the dispute. He invited Mr. Malik to put up the exhibition in Pakistan too. The two-day exhibition includes signatures, photographs and audio and video-tapes of the people.

Speaking on the occasion, writer Arundhati Roy said non-violence now had little place in India as had been shown in the recent demolition of slums in Mumbai.

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