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Mufti briefs Prime Minister on US visit

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Dec 4 (UNI) Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and briefed him on his US visit, including his engagements at the United Nations.

Mr Sayeed, who returned from a month-long visit yesterday, told the Prime Minister that the prevailing supportive environment in the sub-continent offered a ''window of opportunity'' for the peaceful and permanent settlement of the Kashmir issue.

He said India and Pakistan must take advantage of the ''feasible situation'' to realise the much-cherished dream of peace and prosperity in the region.

Mr Sayeed was the head of a non-official Indian delegation to the UN and held several meetings with US think-tanks and Kashmiri groups there.

During his interaction in the US, Mr Sayeed presented the ''self-rule formula'' as a solution to the contentious issue.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron told Dr Singh that the India-Pakistan peace process, catalyzed by confidence building measures, had build conducive atmosphere for initiating practical measures for resolving the Kashmir issue.

''It is now a well-accepted fact that the peace process in the sub-continent is irreversible. It may move in fits and starts, but the direction is clear now.

''The challenge is not only in sustaining the peace process but ensuring that it is insulated from the day-to-day setbacks that have often derailed it in the past,'' he said.

Mr Sayeed said a South Asian region free from ''friction and feud'' emanates from the basic oneness of its people that can dominate all other considerations in an atmosphere of goodwill.

''I visualize a space of dignity and opportunity for Jammu and Kashmir in that paradigm of friendship between India and Pakistan.'' He reiterated the need for involving all shades of political opinion in the resolution process to arrive at broad-based consensus.

''There is a need for well-articulated views to emerge from the State that can form the basis of fruitful dialogue for a practical and implementable solution of the problem.'' UNI NR SY HS1627

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