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Pervez sends Hurriyat packing to Delhi

New Delhi, April 18: Kashmiri separatists are welcome to visit Pakistan but should talk to the Indian leadership first.

The advice was given to Hurriyat leaders not by North Block but by Islamabad when the separatists ' doves and hawks ' had a string of meetings with President Pervez Musharraf in Delhi's Pakistan House last evening.

Musharraf did not stop at that. The President is learnt to have made evident his displeasure at the constant bickering within the Kashmiri separatist movement and dropped broad hints at the failure of Hurriyat leaders in remoulding strategies to become a part of the political process.

The President may not want them to contest elections but is believed to have come to the conclusion that the Hurriyat could not become involved in the peace process by staying in a cocoon and would have to start talking.

Musharraf has also flayed the opposition to the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service by hardline leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

'If someone is still against it, talks about only solution'. Well, we are heading for solution. What is the logic behind it' We have assessed the demands of the people' They want to travel and want to meet relatives,' he told a media briefing telecast by PTV.

The President said Hurriyat leaders should use their 'brain' and join the talks with India and Pakistan separately as it is a step in the direction of trilateral talks. 'Geelani Sahib knows this,' he said.

Geelani took out his anger on the joint statement today. 'The joint declaration has failed to provide any sort of relief to suffering Kashmiris, facing the worst kind of state terrorism,' Geelani said in a statement issued in Srinagar.

He took a swipe at Pakistan, too. 'Kashmiris should have been given some relief at this juncture when claims of headway to resolve the 57-year-old issue are being made by India and Pakistan,' the statement added.

But the moderate group led by Mirwaiz Omar Farooq and the Yasin Malik-Shabir Shah combine conceded that the Pakistan President was showing them the right path, including telling them that the road from Srinagar to Muzaffarabad should pass through Delhi.

A Hurriyat leader quoted the President telling them, 'You talk to India, then come to Pakistan'.

Hurriyat leader Abdul Ghani Bhatt acknowledged that there wasn't any other way to get Kashmiris involved in the peace process.

'How else can you be part of the process if you don't talk to Pakistan as well as India' asked the former Persian professor.

Shah also did not see much use in going to Pakistan without talking to Delhi.

With Geelani declaring that he does not intend to be part of the dialogue process, the moderates ' Hurriyat and non-Hurriyat ' are expected to gain the upper hand in the race to represent the sections that did not take part in the elections.

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