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Vajpayee, Musharraf urged to involve Kashmiris in talks

By Our Staff Reporter

SRINAGAR DEC. 31. The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman, Mohammad Yasin Malik, today appealed to the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and the Pakistan President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, to make a ``bold move'' to resolve the Kashmir issue forever.

At a press conference here, Mr. Malik said — in his New-year message he had sent to the two — he had urged them to take a sympathetic view of the Kashmir problem and save the people of the State from the strife.

``I believe that both of you have firmly grasped the pressing need to initiate a peace process on Kashmir and have voiced statesmen-like wisdom on this,'' he said, adding ``while there are extremists on all sides that may oppose such a bold move on your part, I urge both of you to seize this opportunity to now translate your visionary words into visionary deeds''.

Emphasising the participation of the Kashmiris in any negotiation process, he said, ``No solution on Kashmir will be lasting unless it is legitimate in the eyes of [the] people of Kashmir''. He said, ``It is my firm belief that the principle of the inclusion of the people of Kashmir is the missing ingredient for a complete vision for a workable peace process''. He urged both the leaders to ``evolve a new mechanism for involving Kashmiris in the peace process''.

Mr. Malik reminded both the leaders of their statements in which they committed themselves to find a peaceful and durable solution. ``Mr. Vajpayee, I would like to recall your reflection from Kumarakom on January 2, 2001 in which you firmly committed yourself to finding a durable solution,'' he said.

In the message to Gen. Musharraf, he said, ``I deeply appreciate the statesmanship evident in your bold calling for a wise peace process which would yield a win-win solution acceptable to India, Pakistan and Kashmiris.'' The JKLF chairman, who has been leading a signature campaign in the Valley since June 11, said, ``Eight lakhs people have signed and sought peaceful resolution to the Kashmir issue''.

The Hurriyat Conference (Abbas), in a statement, has urged the militant groups to announce a ceasefire to make the peace process a success.

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