With guns falling silent in the Valley and people’s weariness with militancy more palpable than ever, the Centre’s icebreaking initiative with the Hurriyat appeared to have notched some success with talks kicking off away from public glare. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the chairman of Hurriyat’s moderate faction, was learned to have met Home Minister P Chidambaram quietly over the weekend in New Delhi to expedite the peace process. Mirwaiz confirmed he was in regular contact with interlocutors and track-II votaries but refused to give details of his meeting with Chidambaram. However, it is learnt that the meeting followed Chidambaram’s statement during his visit to Srinagar last month: that the Centre would make efforts to reach out to all shades of opinion in Kashmir “away from the media glare’’ to find ways to end separatist violence and address demands for autonomy. Sources said the Mirwaiz had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram before the latter made the October announcement in Srinagar. Reacting to the “quiet dialogue’’, chief minister Omar Abdullah said, “It’s unfortunate that there are leaks taking place. I have nothing to do with the talks. But my position is clear: the state government has always encouraged and acted as a facilitator for talks with the separatists.’’ A home ministry official revealed that the Mirwaiz, after touring Muslim-dominated areas in Jammu last week, met the Home Minister in New Delhi on Saturday. Apparently, he wanted to take other Kashmiri separatists on board for talks as well. Interestingly, he also met the Pakistan high commissioner, Shahid Malik, on Sunday. While the home minister appears to be prodding the Valley’s top cleric towards a full-fledged dialogue—while at the same time trying to ensure he doesn’t suffer a credibility crisis in the Valley— a source said the Mirwaiz intends to visit Pakistan before making any further commitment on talks. This would ostensibly be for garnering the support of Kashmiri militant groups, particularly of Syed Sallahuddin, the Hizbul Mujahideen supreme commander, the official said. Confirming his desire to visit Pakistan after Eid-ul Azha, the Mirwaiz said he plans to convince separatist leaders in PoK to join talks with New Delhi. Meanwhile, the leader of the hardline Hurriyat faction Syed Ali Shah Geelani was not ready to budge from his “azadi or nothing’’ stand. He said he would join talks only if Pakistan was a participant.