Azad asks Kashmir separatists to respond to talks offerJanuary 29th, 2011 - 8:09 pm ICT by IANS
Jammu, Jan 29 (IANS) Union Health Minister and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad Saturday asked Kashmiri separatists to sit across the table with the central government to sort out the Kashmir issue.”If the centre is walking miles to reach you, its your duty to walk equal distance to resolve the (Kashmir) issue,” Azad told reporters at Jammu Press Club, underlining the need for a positive response from Kashmiri separatists to the dialogue.
Both the factions of the Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir, headed by hardline leader Syed Ali Geelani and moderate leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, have said ‘no’ to the dialogue with the central government unless some of their conditions are met.
Both the factions have asked for a reduction in troop-levels, withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, release of prisoners and recognition of Kashmir as a “dispute” before starting the dialogue.
Azad said: “They are setting conditions for the dialogue, that’s unfortunate. Instead, they should cover the ground for the dialogue and talk to the centre unconditionally.”
During Azad’s tenure as chief minister (November 2005 to July 2008), three round-table conferences were held to resolve the Kashmir issue.
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