The Peninsula / January 15 2006 / (IANS) —
Lone proposes three-point plan on Kashmir
New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday held a "fruitful dialogue" with People’s Conference chief Sajjad Ghani Lone during which the Kashmiri separatist leader mooted a three-point plan to restore peace in the troubled Himalayan state
"We should institutionalise the dialogue process (between the separatists and the government), bring down violence levels and identify other stakeholders in the peace process," Lone said after the 45-minute meeting.
"It was a fruitful dialogue," an official said.
Lone headed a five-member delegation, comprising Peer Hafeezullah Makhdoomi, Qazi Yaseer (Mirwaiz, south Kashmir), Rashid Mehmood and lawyer Rashid Lone, for the talks, held at the 7 Race Course Road official residence of the prime minister.
A team member said before the meeting the delegation would discuss with the prime minister "Kashmir-centric" issues without any "ideological baggage or pressure from Pakistan".
"The People’s 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 leaders who have regularly been holding consultations with the Pakistani leadership on the peace process.
Before his departure from Srinagar, Lone said he would emphasise the identification of other parties and individuals whose inclusion in the dialogue process was necessary to resolve the Kashmir issue.
Asserting that only dialogue could resolve the vexed issue, Lone said violence could never be a means to achieve an objective.
The invitation to Lone makes it clear that the Indian government’s talks with Kashmiri groups would not remain confined only to the Hurriyat, the largest separatist conglomerate in Jammu and Kashmir.
Singh has decided to hold talks with every separatist leader and grouping in the state to try to find a solution to the Kashmir issue.
Other separatist leaders, including Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Front leader Shabir Shah, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yaseen Malik and Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Liberation Front leader Hashim Qureshi are also expected to be called for talks.
Lone also emphasised that he welcomed New Delhi’s initiative to talk to all constituents who had a stake in the Kashmir issue.
"In the backdrop of violence, dialogue is imperative. I am happy the prime minister is talking to everyone who is necessary for an inclusive Kashmir participation."