Prefer Kashmir issue to trade: Separatists to Pakistan

Senior separatist leaders have impressed upon the Government of Pakistan to give preference to the Kashmir issue than trade with India in the dialogue process between the two countries.

Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Geelani during his meeting with Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit in New Delhi yesterday said Kashmir issue should be given priority over other issues confronting the two countries.
“Geelani sahib underscored the need for Pakistan to give preference to resolution of Kashmir dispute than trade ties and other issues with India. He said Kashmiris are suffering due to inordinate delay in resolution of the dispute. He urged Pakistan to consider people of Kashmir as primary party to the dispute and pressed for their inclusion in dialogue process,” said Hurriyat (G) spokesperson Ayaz Akbar who was also present in the meeting.
He said Geelani hailed the decision of Pakistan to talk with separatists despite reservations by New Delhi. “Geelani sahib conveyed his gratitude to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief for taking a stand on meeting with separatists. The Pakistan High Commissioner assured to continue diplomatic and moral support to the ongoing movement in Kashmir,” Akbar said.
“By talking with separatists, Pakistan has acknowledged Kashmiris as prime stakeholders in Kashmir dispute. Geelani sahib hoped that government of India will realize the urgency for resolution of Kashmir issue. He (Geelani) said by cancelling the foreign secretary level talks India has proven that it does not want Kashmir issue to be resolved through peaceful means,” Akbar said.
Akbar said Basit told Geelani that “Pakistan government is surprised over the government of India’s decision to cancel the foreign secretary-level talks. It seems that the Government of India has taken this decision due to domestic political compulsions and disrespected the diplomatic protocols. Kashmir is an internationally recognized issue and this ground reality cannot be changed at any cost.”
“Geelani sahib stressed on Pakistan not to pursue any meetings with India unless it realizes its need,” Akbar said.
Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Muhammad Yasin Malik said he apprised the Pakistan High Commissioner about the “ground realities” in Kashmir.
“I told the High Commissioner that the ongoing movement for right to self-determination has consumed four generations of Kashmir. Due to the unresolved dispute, over 80 percent Kashmiris are suffering with depression. I stressed that trade and other issues can wait but there is an urgent need to resolve the Kashmir dispute as it taking a heavy toll on Kashmiris,” Malik said.
Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq hailed the “realistic policy” of Pakistan on Kashmir issue. “I told the Pakistan High Commissioner that Kashmir is not a border dispute or the internal matter of India but concerns the future of 1.50 crore people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
“Kashmiris are basic party to the dispute and Kashmir should be resolved according to the UN resolutions. Pakistan should continue to provide diplomatic and political support to the cause of Kashmiris,” Mirwaiz told Basit.
Meanwhile, Mirwaiz hit out at New Delhi for stating that there are only two stakeholders of the Kashmir issue. “The statement is unrealistic and factually incorrect. History stands testimony to the fact that bilateral talks between India and Pakistan have failed to resolve the issue in the past and same will happen in future. Terming Kashmir a bilateral issue won’t change its dispute nature,” Mirwaiz said.

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