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Qureshi to attend PM's round-table on Kashmir

By Staff
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Srinagar, Feb 22 (UNI) Democratic Liberation Party (DLP) Chairman Hashim Qureshi today decided to attend Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's round-table conference on Kashmir on February 25.

He would be the only separatist leader from Jammu and Kashmir to participate in the meeting.

Confirming the participation to UNI over phone from Amsterdam in The Netherlands, Qureshi said he will attend the Prime Minister's round-table in New Delhi.

The DLP Chief said he would put his party's viewpoint and present a memorandum to the Prime Minister at the conference.

''We have decided to represent the people of Jammu and Kashmir at the round-table,'' he added.

Qureshi, who is in Europe for medical treatment, expressed surprise over the refusal of the moderate Hurriyat Conference, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front and the People's Conference to attend the meet.

''Their refusal to take part in the round-table is surprising as they have already held talks with the Prime Minister. By declining the offer they have dejected the people of the state...It is a setback to the people,'' he added.

The DLP chief said the separatist leaders who have refused to attend the round-table conference had done so ''at the behest of their masters across the border''.

However, he said breakaway Hurriyat Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani's refusal was ''understood'' as he had declined all previous offers to hold the dialogue process with the Indian leadership.

Earlier, the 12-member DLP central committee unanimously decided to take part in the Prime Minister's round-table where Qureshi will represent the party.

He will return from Amsterdam tomorrow.

Qureshi came into the limelight when he along with his brother Ashraf Qureshi and three others hijacked the Indian Airlines Fokker Friendship plane, also known as Ganga, on January 30, 1971 when it was on flight from Srinagar to Jammu.

The hijackers took the plane to Lahore, where they blew it up after letting passengers to alight.

Qureshi returned to India from Denmark in December 2000 and surrendered before the authorities. He is facing trial in the hijacking case.

UNI AG RL DS1606

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