The much-awaited ‘talks offer’ by the Union government to the Hurriyat Conference, an organization claiming to be the representatives of the Kashmiri people is being seen as a good step amongst Kashmiris and this organization in particular. People in the valley feel that though the initiative had come quite late, it nevertheless is significant. The Hurriyat should cash in on this opportunity and demonstrate to the world that they believe in a peaceful resolution of the dispute.
Bashir Manzar, editor, Kashmir Images believes that it is a positive change. Kashmiris are at the receiving end and they need dialogue more than India and Pakistan "Hurriyat should not only take all its constituents into confidence before talking to New Delhi but also seek the opinion of intellectuals and opinion makers. It should not be a political party talking to the government but people of Jammu and Kashmir"
“Though belated, ‘talks offer’ by the union government is a step in the right direction and of course the need of the hour. Hurriyat has been advocating dialogue as the only solution to the Kashmir dispute and rightly so. It is an opportunity for the organization to demonstrate before the international community that they believe in a peaceful resolution of the more than 50-year-old dispute. The organization should take the separatists groups into confidence other than people in its own fold and go ahead with an open mind" said, Ab. Hafiz Shah, KAS officer.
Valley people realize that the Centre (Delhi) has dropped its antipathy to any official-level dialogue with the APHC by offering this dialogue at the highest level, which Hurriyat has been wanting since long. The Deputy Prime Minister, L.K Advani would be the points-man for talks with the separatist grouping. In the recent past the initiative of sending a number of interlocutors like NN Vohra, K.C Pant, and Ram Jethmalani to talk to Hurriyat has already come to naught because the Hurriyat was insisting for a dialogue at the highest level. It is for the first time in the 14-year-history of militancy in the valley that the union government has extended a talk offer to the Hurriyat at the highest level.
People understand that given the increasing violence and bloodshed in the Valley, the offer must be responded to positively by the latter. The Hurriyat cannot afford to say ‘No’ to the offer. "The organization should overcome the differences within it and respond to the Union government’s talks offer without fail. It must realize that it is people of the turbulent Valley who are at the receiving end of the ever-increasing violence" said, Mohd. Afzal, a teacher by profession.
Welcoming New Delhi’s decision and terming it a positive offer, the conglomerate has begun its homework. The Hurriyat executive has said that it would respond after Id (November 27). This would give it time to seek endorsement from all its constituents and even some rejectionists to build a consensus. To evaluate the public bent-of-mind the Hurriyat would be holding "mass contact" programmes and get a feedback. These preparations would be led and coordinated by a three member team. They include Chief Maulvi Abbas Ansari, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Fazal Haq Qureshi. Qureshi, incidentally, was the Hizbul Mujahideen’s interlocutor who participated in the unsuccessful negotiations with New Delhi after the outfit’s ceasefire in 2000.
In the near future a three member team of the Hurriyat would start talks with:
· Shabir Shah, Chairman, Democratic Freedom Party,
· Amanullah Khan or his party representatives in Kashmir,
· Mahazi Azadi’s Azam Inqulabi, and
· Yasin Malik, Chairman, JKLF.