Pak PM to raise Kashmir with Obama

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will raise the Kashmir issue with US President Barack Obama when he meets him on Thursday, its envoy told separatist Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq.

“I was told by the Pakistan High Commissioner that the Pakistan Prime Minister would be raking up the Kashmir issue with Obama (on October 22) during his visit to the US,” said the Mirwaiz who had an hour-long meeting with the envoy Abdul Basit here yesterday.

This meeting came about two months after his proposed interface with Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz was aborted as the Centre had directed police to detain all separatists coming to Delhi for meeting Aziz. The NSA level talks were later called off by Pakistan.

Farooq said the central government was neither keen on talking about Kashmir to Pakistan nor to Kashmiris.

“How can we ignore Kashmir when it is the main bone of contention between India and Pakistan? We, in Hurriyat, firmly believe that the two countries need to come together on table and sort out all the differences. We only want to provide our view point to both India and Pakistan,” he said.

Referring to four-point solution proposed by Sharif during his speech at the United Nations, the Mirwaiz said “it is sad that this too was rejected by India. I wonder what is in the mind of government.”

Sharif, during his speech at the UN last month, had mooted the four-point formula for improving ties with India, which included demilitarisation of Kashmir, unconditional withdrawal of forces from Siachen, formalisation of the 2003 border ceasefire and restraint by both countries from “use or the threat of use of force under any circumstances”.

India rejected it, saying that instead of four-steps, Pakistan just needed to end cross-border terrorism for normalisation of the bilateral ties.

On the recent attacks in various places including one on a Kashmiri truck in Udhampur, the separatist Hurriyat chief said incidents of intolerance and hate-violence was increasing.

“The number of incidents of violence is only increasing and the situation seems from going from bad to worse,” he said.

“It seems that divisive forces have been let loose after the new government took over. What is worrisome that this has not spared Jammu and Kashmir even where polarisation is being done with a design to break the state. And moreover, the government is doing nothing to rein in such criminals who are hell bent on disturbing secular fabric,” he said.

He said various trade and student delegations had met him and expressed their fears over moving out of Kashmir.

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