By JEHANGIR ALI
SRINAGAR: Veteran Hurriyat leader and chairman of his faction of Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Geelani, today revealed he spurned efforts by New Delhi to start Kashmir dialogue “without involvement of Islamabad” in the process.
The octogenarian leader, who remains under house arrest at his Srinagar residence, was, according to his spokesman G A Gulzar, approached by an unidentified officer of the Intelligence Bureau who wanted him to “startstart dialogue with New Delhi”.
Geelani, the spokesman said, turned down the offer.
The Centre has appointed Dineshwar Sharma as a special representative for Jammu and Kashmir and the latest effort to reach out to the separatists, is seen by observers as part of that process, although there was no official confirmation on that.
Sharma could not be reached for comments.
Urging New Delhi to engage Pakistan in a “meaningful” dialogue on Kashmir, Geelani, according to the spokesman, told the unnamed officer that under “indifferent, apathetic and appalling situation” in Kashmir, talks will not succeed unless the situation is “conducive for talks between all its stakeholders including Pakistan”.
“Unless and until the Kashmir dispute is addressed in its historical perspective, all these attempts are futile. India must acknowledge the disputed status of the Kashmir and begin demilitarization to hold a referendum,” Geelani told the IB officer, according to Gulzar.
Geelani told the officer that New Delhi must accept Kashmir as a dispute and respect the aspirations of the people, “They should shun fanatical politics because the need of the hour is to acknowledge the ground realities of the long-pending Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” Geelani, according to a Hurriyat statement, told the IB officer.
Geelani, who has previously also rebuked efforts by New Delhi to reach out to his faction of the Hurriyat, told the officer that the “forced occupation of India” of Kashmir must end and people should be allowed to express their aspiration about “political future” of the state.
“The volatile situation in Jammu and Kashmir is a natural reaction against India’s stubborn attitude. Delhi is desperately trying to impose its verdict on the state through military might. We are yearning for peace and seek peaceful resolution to the long- pending (Kashmir) issue,” Geelani told the officer, while calling for “only meaningful and result-oriented negotiations”.
The development comes days after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti urged the BJP-led Centre, her ally in the state, to engage separatists and Islamabad for resolving the Kashmir problem, in the midst of the armies of two countries pounding each other and even civilians with heavy machine gunfire, forcing thousands of residents to migrate and closure of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service.
Talks with ‘internal and external stakeholders’ is part of PDP-BJP’s governance agenda for Jammu and Kashmir but the lack of progress on key political and economic issues has irked the regional PDP.
Continuing with its aggressive posture, the BJP has however refused to engage with Islamabad unless the latter stops “exporting terrorism”. This has also become a source of friction in the coalition government with the PDP facing accusations of compromising on its core agenda for power.