Hurriyat leaders rush to New Delhi to meet Pak official

 
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New Delhi, Nov 12 (UNI) After twice refusing to participate in the round-table conference on Kashmir convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, moderate Hurriyat leaders have rushed here to meet a visiting senior Pakistani official next week.

A moderate Hurriyat Conference delegation reached the national capital today from Srinagar to meet Pakistan Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan who arrives here on an official visit to hold crucial talks with his Indian counterpart Shiv Shankar Menon on various issues, including Jammu and Kashmir.

While Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is in Cairo to attend the 56th Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs, the four members who arrive here today are Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat, Maulana Abbas Ansari, Bilal Ghani Lone and Aga Syed Hassan.

The Mirwaiz would join the delegation before its meeting with the Pakistani official.

The moderate Hurriyat leaders have twice refused to participate the round-table chaired by the Prime Minister, first in New Delhi (February 25) and second time in Srinagar (May 24-25).

Political observers here say that the Hurriyat and other separatist leaders have on number of occasions disregarded the positive overtures shown by the Government of India, but always exhibited keenness to meet any Pakistani leader on an India visit.

They have always made a beeline for New Delhi whenever a Pakistani leader or an official visited India, the observers said.

Over the past two years, besides the Hurriyat leaders, other separatists, including Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Chief Mohammad Yasin Malik and Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) President Shabir Ahmed Shah, have held talks with the visiting Pakistani dignitaries in New Delhi.

In June 2004, the then Pakistan Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokhar, met the deeply faction-ridden separatists in an effort to unite them. However, he failed to bring about a rapprochement.

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