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Lone, PM to talk on 'Kashmir-centric' issues

Last updated on: January 13, 2006 18:40 IST
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Peoples Conference leaders will on Saturday discuss 'Kashmir-centric' issues with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

A member of the team, which will meet Dr Singh in New Delhi, told UNI that the delegation will be entering the talks with an open mind as 'it was not carrying any ideological baggage from Pakistan'.

"The Peoples Conference delegation has no pressure from any side. It is not under any compulsion from across the border to push a certain agenda," he said, while alluding to the moderate Hurriyat Conference leadership which has regularly been holding consultations with Pakistani leaders on the peace process.

He said since Saturday's meeting was the first with the prime minister, the delegation will provide feedback on the 'existing' situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

"The people of Kashmir are the basic issue and they should get some respite and that is what we try to talk about," he added.

Asserting that only dialogue could resolve the vexed issue, delegation head and Peoples Conference chief Sajjad Ghani Lone said violence could never be a means to achieve any objective.

"I stand vindicated. I have always maintained that dialogue was the only option," he added.

Besides Lone, the Peoples Conference delegation comprises Peer Hafeezullah Makhdoomi, Qazi Yaseer (Mirwaiz, South Kashmir), Rashid Mehmood and Advocate Rashid Lone.

The invitation to Lone, who had been maintaining a low profile since the last nine months, is part of the process to widen the ambit of the peace talks and arrive on a consensus on the resolution of the Kashmir issue.

Lone is a known critic of Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and the conglomerate. He parted ways with his elder brother Bilal Lone and the moderate Hurriyat Conference after serious differences with the amalgam leaders.

Differences between the Hurrriyat and Lone arose when the amalgam asked him to 'come clean' on filing 'proxy Peoples Conference candidates' in the 2002 Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections.

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