Mehbooba invites separatists for dialogue with all-party delegation

SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, on Saturday wrote to the separatist leaders of Kashmir, requesting them for a dialogue with the all-party parliamentary delegation that is scheduled to reach Srinagar on Sunday morning. Mehbooba said her party has “always believed that the Hurriyat Conference is a stakeholder in the peace, resolution and prosperity of the state.”

However, Mehbooba wrote to the separatists as the president of ruling Peoples Democratic Party, and not as the Chief Minister of the state.

Mehbooba has addressed her letter to Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Mohammad Yasin Malik, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat, Moulvi Abbas Ansari, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Bilal Gani Lone, Aga Hassan, Naeem Ahmad Khan and Amir Jamiat-e-Ahli-Hadees, J&K, and “others reiterating their role and seeking their cooperation in the peaceful resolution of the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.”

The Chief Minister earlier today stressed for an “unconditional dialogue” with all stakeholders, including Hurriyat Conference, to resolve the Kashmir 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.

Here is the text of the letter in verbatim:

“Assalam-u-Alaikum!

All of us are deeply concerned, albeit in our own way, about the existing situation in the Valley. Notwithstanding the fact that you and I have different and divergent political ideologies, I have no doubt that all of us have the best interest of the people of J&K in mind.

True, our politics and programs are at variance with each other, but our concerns for our people and society in general, and the future of our youth in particular, should not be any different.

As such, I write to you in my capacity as the President of the J&K Peoples Democratic Party and request you to take the lead and engage with the All Party Delegation of Parliamentarians visiting the state tomorrow. This will be the start of a credible and meaningful political dialogue and resolution process to end the stalemate.

Cutting across party lines and political positions, the country’s political leadership has reached out and it is for us to collectively lend it credence and credibility.

All of us, be it the mainstream political parties or political groups with a separatist agenda, voice the urges and aspirations of our people, as we understand those, and seek a resolution of the problems as we see them from our own perspectives.

My party has always believed that the Hurriyat Conference is a stakeholder in the peace, resolution and prosperity of the state. Indeed, right in the beginning in our Party’s founding declaration we stood for dialogue with all stakeholders as the only way forward.

When we formed an alliance with the Congress Party, the cornerstone of our Common Minimum Program was dialogue with parties of all ideological hues. This was later followed by an unconditional dialogue, under the leadership of the then Prime Minster Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, with Deputy Prime Minster, Shri L K Advani.

In the manifesto of our Party for the last Parliamentary Election, it was clearly mentioned that PDP will seek the resolution of the issue taking Hurriyat Conference on board.  The same was reiterated in the manifesto our assembly election.

Indeed, even in the ‘Agenda of Alliance’, which is the basis of our government formation with our alliance partners, the Bharatiya Janata Party,  it has been made clear that the State Government will create conditions to facilitate resolution of all issues and will help initiate a sustained and meaningful dialogue with all the stakeholders, including all political groups in J&K irrespective of their ideological views and predilections to build a broad based consensus on resolution of all outstanding issues of J&K.

To convert our conviction and commitment of a peaceful and prosperous J&K into reality, it is important that you share your thoughts and beliefs with this distinguished group who represent the people of India and not only the Government of India.

I do hope that you will give this suggestion of mine a thought and indicate a time and place of your convenience for an exchange of ideas with the delegation.

Wasalam,

Mehbooba Mufti

President”