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What they say after summit?

Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Chief Minister: Talks held at Agra cannot be termed as failure. India and Pakistan have made a good beginning and there have to be many more rounds between the two countries to reach an agreement. There is no doubt that Kashmir is the central issue between India and Pakistan. As cross- border terrorism is our prime concern, it is directly connected to Kashmir issue.

Prof. Abdul Ghani Bhat, Chairman APHC: Though both Atal Behari Vajpayee and Gen. Pervez Musharraf failed to construct the Taj Mahal of peace at Agra, a good beginning has been made. For the first time India invited Pakistan for talks and the main agenda of talks was Kashmir. Whatever the two countries could not achieve from Tashkent to Lahore was attained at Agra. It is now the responsibility of both the countries to take this process ahead with full sincerity and honesty. Agra summit was however a victory for the people of Kashmir as for the first time, they were consulted by Pakistan prior to entering into talks with India.

Syed Ali Geelani, Jamaat-e-Islami leader: India’s hard and tough attitude is responsible for the talks’ failure. I have been saying from day one that not much expectation should be attributed to the summit. Pakistan president Gen. Pervez Musharraf, however, succeeded in placing his country’s point of view on Kashmir with full strength. I hope that the General will firmly stick to this stand on Kashmir.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman Awami Action Committee: It is unfortunate that the talks failed due to unrealistic approach adopted by New Delhi. Agra summit has exposed India’s approach before the whole world. Agra has proved beyond doubt that external interference was essential and India and Pakistan cannot settle the Kashmir issue bilaterally.

Shabbir Ahmad Shah, president Democratic Freedom Party: India has failed to play the role of ‘elder brother’. Though not much was expected from the Agra summit, ‘no results’ was also not expected. India’s tough stand was a hitch in the way of reaching an agreement.

Ghulam Nabi Shaheen, provisional president, National Conference: Kashmir is a dispute and unless it is accepted as the central issue, no talks can succeed. Though New Delhi has never demonstrated sincerity on Kashmir, both the countries have to adopt a compromising attitude to find a solution of this complex problem. Though India is committed to settle this issue, there are enough indications to believe that New Delhi wants to settle the issue on the basis of force. The people of Kashmir are to be included in the process of negotiations to find a solution.

Asiya Andrabi, chief, Dukhtaran-e-Millat: The hard attitude demonstrated by India has strengthened the belief that jihad was the only way to liberate Kashmir. Gen. Musharraf has succeeded in exposing the dual policy of India, hence he deserves all praise. It is now up to mujahideen to intensify their activities to reply to the Indian stand.

Javed Ahmad Mir, vice president, JKLF: It was once again proved beyond doubt that unless India and Pakistan resolve the basic Kashmir issue, their relations cannot improve. The government of India must allow Hurriyat Conference leaders to visit Pakistan, so that they consult Mujahideen and other leaders for a permanent solution of the Kashmir issue.
Mohammad Shafi Quraishi, president, PCC(I): Agra talks had generated hopes that both the countries would be able to improve their relations. But unfortunately the talks could not achieve anything. In aggregate Gen. Musharraf emerged victorious.

Nayeem Ahmad Khan, chairman National Front: By not signing any document of India’s will, Pakistani president has proved that he was not ready for any kind of sellout. India’s stand that Kashmir issue was the result of border terrorism, is highly condemnable.

Mufti Mehbooba, vice president , Peoples Democratic Party: Both the countries were facing internal pressure which led to failure of talks. However, we should not give up hopes. One day will come when India and Pakistan will have to be friends.

Abdul Rashid Kabuli, vice president, state BJP: Agra summit provided an opportunity to both the countries to rectify their past mistakes but hardliners from both the countries left no stones unturned in making the negotiations a failure. People had attributed many hopes to the summiteers they want peace and prosperity.

M. Yusuf Tarigammi, Secretary, CPI(M): It is unfortunate on the part of both the countries that they squandered an opportunity like Agra summit. It is high time that both the countries realize the importance of sorting out their pending problems through dialogue and other peaceful means.

Nazir Ahmad Ronga, president, Kashmir Bar Association: India has failed to reciprocate the flexibility shown by Pak president Gen. Musharraf. It was high time for India to start a meaningful process to settle the Kashmir issue.

Sheikh Mohammad Siddiq, trade union leader: Gen. Pervez Musharraf managed to get Kashmir recognized as the core or central issue, as the whole process, which lasted for three days, came to zero because of Kashmir issue.

Abdul Ghani Lone, chairman, People’s Conference: Gen. Pervez Musharraf is the first ruler of Pakistan who pleaded Kashmir case fearlessly. Though the Agra talks were resultless, there are hopes that the dialogue between the two nuclear powers will continue.
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