Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, a senior Kashmiri separatist leader, has urged Saudi Arabia to use its influence and bring India and Pakistan closer to solve the decades-long conflict over the disputed Himalayan region.
Farooq arrived in the Kingdom last Thursday to perform the Umrah pilgrimage and his visit, two weeks after the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, is being considered significant.
Farooq is chairman of Kashmir’s moderate separatist alliance — the All Parties Hurriyat Conference.
Saudi Arabia has old and close ties with Muslim Pakistan and has also been mentioned as a possible mediator in any political settlement with the Taliban in Afghanistan, where India and Pakistan have been battling for influence since long.
Singh’s visit, the first to Saudi Arabia by an Indian leader since 1982, sought to build economic ties and to enlist Riyadh’s help in improving regional security.