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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 May, 2005, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
Kashmir hardliners reject visit
Syed Ali Shah Geelani
Geelani and other leaders wanted to "register their resentment"
Leaders of a hardline faction opposed to Indian rule in Kashmir have rejected an invitation from Pakistan to travel there for talks next week.

Delegates from the All Party Hurriyat Conference in Indian-administered Kashmir say they are angry Pakistan has eased its stance on the divided region.

Leaders of other groups will travel to the meeting using the new bus service that crosses Kashmir.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars on Kashmir since independence in 1947.


More than 40,000 people have died there in 14 years of hardline insurgency.

India and Pakistan have now been engaged in an 18-month long peace process that hopes to find a solution to Kashmir, which both claim in its entirety.


Hardline faction chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, said the leaders' decision was taken by majority vote at a meeting on Sunday in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-administered Kashmir.

Pakistan has been showing its helplessness before India's might
Syed Ali Shah Geelani,

He said they wanted to "register our resentment" against Pakistan's deviation from its stand on Kashmir.

Mr Geelani said Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf had offered many concessions to India on Kashmir but India had not deviated from its position.

"Pakistan has been showing its helplessness before India's might," Mr Geelani said.

He added: "What do we carry to Pakistan if we undertake the journey? There's no agenda. And we don't know what we'll bring back from there."

Mr Geelani said the moderate separatist leaders would not achieve anything.

He also condemned Delhi's "arrogance and imperialistic attitude" in refusing to allow the leaders to travel outside Pakistan-administered Kashmir on their trip.

The hardliners believe that the Kashmir dispute should be solved either by a plebiscite under a resolution of the United Nations or a tripartite dialogue involving India, Pakistan and Kashmiri leaders.

The moderate politicians will meet leaders of Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir on their visit.

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