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Aziz bid to unite Hurriyat factions fails

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November 24, 2004 09:16 IST

Islamabad's aim of bringing about unity among various separatist Kashmiri factions failed even after Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz held marathon meetings with their leaders in New Delhi on Tuesday night.

Aziz, on his maiden visit to India, met separately with Hurriyat Conference acting chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Maulana Abbas Ansari, Abdul Gani Bhat, hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani, and non-Hurriyat separatist leaders Yasin Malik and Shabir Shah for four-and-a-half hours.

All of them had dinner later at Pakistan House, the venue of the meetings.

However, after the first meeting, the separatist leaders admitted that disunity and differences among them persisted.

Emerging first from the meeting, which went on till half past midnight, J&K Democratic Freedom Party president Shabbir Shah told reporters that "unity is our internal matter and one day hopefully we will speak in one voice."

"The government of Pakistan wants Hurriyat to be united... but it is an issue which the Hurriyat itself has to resolve. Our efforts in this direction are on," said Mirwaiz Farooq who left with Ansari, Bhat and Lone.

Geelani, who had quit Hurriyat to float a parallel faction, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, said there were differences among the various groups over the "approach" though they agreed on the "disputed nature" of Jammu and Kashmir.

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