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Mirwaiz Umer Farooq's US visit uncertain

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
September 18, 2008 23:44 IST
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All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, who was scheduled to visit the United States next week, might not be able to do so as his travel documents are not in order.

"My passport has expired and I am awaiting the renewal of the travel documents so that I can travel abroad," Mirwaiz told from his residence in Srinagar on Thursday night.

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The Hurriyat Conference leader is hopeful that the meeting between United States President George W Bush and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari will result in some 'positive developments'. Bush is scheduled to meet Zardari in New York on September 23, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

"I am confident that some positive developments would take place during their meeting so that we could move forward on the Kashmir issue," said the senior separatist leader.

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Speaking on the possibility of talks between the Hurriyat Conference and the government, he outlined certain 'concrete steps' that needed to be taken first.

These include opening of the Srinagar Muzaffarbad road, releasing all political prisons in Jammu and Kashmir and in other states and repealing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

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"It is necessary that the people feel that something is moving at the ground level before we move forward to hold talks with the government of India at the invitation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh," he said.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi