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JK: Hurriyat says it won't contest polls

By From Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
May 21, 2008 19:18 IST
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Moderate All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leaders on Wednesday put to rest all the speculations about participation in the forthcoming assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, when Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Farooq categorically rejected poll participation.

Addressing a largely attended rally to commemorate the death anniversaries of the two senior separatist leaders, Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone in Eidgah this afternoon, the APHC chairman said, "Elections have been held in Kashmir since 1947. But, these polls have failed to solve the problem in the past and will fail in future too. We are not for electoral politics. We are not interested in power."

Mirwaiz welcomed the resumption of talks between the two neighbouring countries.

He said, "We welcome the resumption of foreign minister-level talks between India and Pakistan. But without the involvement of Kashmiris, the issue cannot be resolved. The issue has to be resolved as per the wishes and aspirations of the people of Kashmir."

"I invite Indian and Pakistan prime ministers to hold talks in Srinagar to resolve the issue."

The APHC chairman demanded the release of all the detenues lodged in various jails inside and outside Kashmir.

He demanded immediate lifting of the ban on Pakistan TV channels.

Mirwaiz Umar appealed senior separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who heads his own breakaway APHC group, Mohammad Yasin Malik, chairman of the JKLF (Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front) and Sajad Gani Lone of the People's Conference (PC) to join the moderate APHC fold.

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From Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar