Mehbooba for unconditional dialogue with Hurriyat, others, to resolve Kashmir issue

ANANTNAG: Stressing on the urgency of initiating an “unconditional dialogue” in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday called for engaging all sections of the society in a “credible and meaningful political process” for the resolution of the issue.

“The country’s political leadership must, without any further delay, reach out and engage all sections of the society including the leaders of the Hurriyat Conference in a productive dialogue process to resolve the issue and make peace a reality in Jammu and Kashmir,” the Chief Minister said.

The Chief Minister said it is “perhaps for the first time” that the Kashmir issue has been, during the past two months, discussed in so many forums and at so many levels including the Parliament and at the All Party Meetings where judicious views were put across by all shades of the country’s political opinion on how to end the stalemate.

“The need of the hour is to build on this larger political consensus within the country and initiate tangible measures to address the issue,” she said and added that during her meeting with the Prime Minister last month she suggested a three-pronged approach including talks with all sections of society within J&K including the separatist leadership and also with Pakistan to put the reconciliation and resolution process back on track.

She expressed the hope that the upcoming visit of the All Party Delegation to the State will facilitate revival of the much-needed peace and resolution process in and around Jammu and Kashmir.

Referring to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s latest statement that the seeds of the current unrest in Kashmir were sown during Independence and a ‘solution to the problem will be found’, Mehbooba said the prevailing situation in Kashmir presents not just a challenge, but also an opportunity to the Prime Minister to take some bold measures towards resolution of the issue and make India more at peace not only with its neighbuors, but also with itself.

Stressing the need for revival of the peace, reconciliation and confidence building initiatives, both on internal and external fronts, which she said had worked so well between 2002 and 2005, Mehbooba averred that the present situation in Kashmir calls for every right thinking party, group or individual to rise to the occasion and strive for finding ways and avenues for the restoration of peace and resolution of the problem.

“To end the stalemate and rein in the vicious cycle of violence, the doors for purposeful, constructive and unconditional dialogue need to be opened,” she said and added that those having different political ideologies also need to realize that the issues can be resolved only through dialogue and not through violence. “Even after wars and major conflicts around the world, the issues have been ultimately resolved through dialogue and same stands true for Jammu and Kashmir,” she said.

The Chief Minister said that right from early nineties, people in Jammu and Kashmir have been living through bloodshed, pain, suffering and miseries and there has to be an end to this trail of death and destruction. “Right now Kashmir is again embroiled in a burning situation and we have hope that all sides will pick up elements of sanity and pragmatism and strike a new benchmark towards the resolution of the problem in light of the global and sub-continental realities,” she said adding; “While the separatist leadership shall also have to take a step forward, the Centre on its part shall have to put off the fire on internal discontent. We have to apply a healing touch to the agonizing situation and address the causes of alienation, especially among the youth.”

Maintaining that the people of the State have always responded positively to the initiatives in improving the security situation, Mehbooba said the fact that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are the biggest custodians of its interests has to be recognized to completely end the atmosphere of trust deficit.

Stating that the people in Kashmir have to pay huge costs during recurrent unrests by way of losing precious lives, facing colossal economic losses, educational deprivation and social erosion, the Chief Minister said that the pain of Kashmiris has reached a level, where the hope for a peaceful resolution of their problems is sure to get substantial support and “we should not allow this opportunity to be lost, especially when all the political parties in the country are on board for a permanent solution.”

She was interacting with the people at the remote village of Kraloo in Kund area of district Kulgam where she had gone to offer personal condolences to the bereaved family of Mashooq Ahmad Sheikh who was killed in security forces firing last month, a statement issued by the government read.

Former Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Deputy Commissioner, Kulgam and other officers of the district administration accompanied the Chief Minister.