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LoC as soft border unacceptable, says Hurriyat

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
April 16, 2005 20:24 IST
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Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the All Party Hurriyat Conference, has said that if India and Pakistan are planning to convert the Line of Control into a soft border as a solution to the Kashmir problem then Hurriyat Conference would oppose the move tooth and nail.

He would be leading a four-member delegation that would hold talks with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, who arrived in New Delhi on Saturday evening.

I bring a message of peace: Pervez

Professor Abdul Gani Bhat, Maulana Abbas Ansari, both former chairpersons of the APHC, and Bilal Lone would be the other members of the delegation.

"We are meeting Musharraf at Pakistan House at 1700 hours. Our meeting is scheduled to last forty five minutes. If necessary we will stay on for dinner," he said in an interview with in New Delhi.

'Hurriyat has limited influence'

He described the starting of the bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarbad as a great event. But he hoped that the two nations would not ignore the Hurriyat conference during their talks and sooner or later involve them in finding a solution to the Kashmir problem.

"We want a time-bound framework for talks because we do not want that this should be dragged for ever. Line of Control as soft border is not just a question of a line across the earth. We want that the line which runs across our hearts on both sides of Kashmir should go for ever," he said.

Cricket and Kashmir - Musharraf in India

He denied that the Hurriyat Conference was reluctant to talk to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. "How can we do that? This is something that we have been pressing for. It is for the Dr Singh to chose the time according to his own convenience after April 18, after the Pakistan President has left," he said.

He demanded that over 450-500 Kashmiri political prisoners who were still languishing in various jails in India should be released forthwith to create better environment in the valley.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi