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What is the utility of Pak visit? Govt asks Hurriyat

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
January 20, 2004 10:54 IST
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The All Parties Hurriyat Conference must convince the government about the utility of visiting Pakistan before permission could be granted, Minister of State for Home Affairs I D Swami told

He said the demand to visit Pakistan should be raised during their meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani on January 22.

"The Hurriyat leaders would have to spell out what are the tangible gains that would emerge out of their trip. They must categorically state that they would be able to prevail upon the terrorist groups operating from Pakistan to give up violence. Otherwise there is no point in allowing such a visit," Swami said.

Asked whether the government would be flexible with Hurriyat, Swami said, "The Government of India has already shown enough flexibility by appointing L K Advani to hold talks with them on the political level."

He said issuing of passports to the Hurriyat leadership should not be a problem once government allows them to go.

"They first have to come up with a demand. Then they have to convince the government and only after that the government would decide whether to give them passports or not. In any case Vajpayeeji would decide what to do in this matter," he said.

Barring Mirwaiz Umer Farooq no other Hurriyat leader has a passport.

The Hurriyat delegation led by Moulvi Abbas Ansari would arrive in New Delhi from Srinagar on Tuesday. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who is part of the delegation and arrived in New Delhi on Monday evening, said he was optimistic about the talks with Advani.

"We are not putting any conditions for the talks. In fact we are here for the talks. I appeal to the media to let the talks go ahead. Let us create an atmosphere that would help the process of dialogue and take it further, which eventually leads to permanent solution of the Kashmir problem," Mirwaiz told

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi