NATIONAL

Let us be more flexible: Sajjad Lone

SRINAGAR May 22. The Peoples' Conference chairman, Sajjad Gani Lone, today called upon the Kashmiri leadership to understand the dynamics of the changing world order and show flexibility in coming forward for talks on the Kashmir issue.

He was addressing a public meeting in the heart of the city to commemorate the first death anniversary of the party founder-chairman and his father, Abdul Gani Lone.

Mr. Lone reiterated the People's Conference stand which he said was the reason for the assassination of his father.

He discounted the claim of India and Pakistan over Kashmir, saying "Kashmir first, Kashmiris first. We are neither anybody's (Pakistan) windpipe nor anybody's (India's) integral part".

"When India and Pakistan, despite being nuclear powers, can exhibit flexibility though under international pressure, we also need to take lessons and show flexibility."

In an obvious reference to hardline Hurriyat leader, Syed Ali Geelani's recent statement, Lone said "sitting in Srinagar, people issue anti-West and anti-U.S. statements least knowing the far-reaching impact on Kashmir. We cannot win this war by emotional speeches.''

He urged the separatist leaders to find a role for themselves when both India and Pakistan were ready to start a dialogue.

Despite heavy rain thousands of his supporters had gathered for the meeting.

Mr. Lone, who has recently been placed in the highest Z-plus security, was wearing a bullet-proof jacket and was whisked to his car as soon as he finished the brief speech.

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