Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Sunday only meaningful engagement between India and Pakistan and the leadership of the state could resolve decades old Kashmir conflict and accord permanent peace to the region.
Chairing a meeting of the party’s top leadership and functionaries of Kashmir and Ladakh, Mehbooba said it was high time for all political forces to come together and make strenuous efforts in unison to get Jammu and Kashmir out of the present uncertainty, bloodshed, mayhem and chaos.
Mehbooba said the world had now realised how the Kashmir issue, if allowed to remain unsettled, could push both India and Pakistan towards the brink of a nuclear war. She said it was high time both countries for their greater common good addressed the Kashmir issue on priority. To begin with, Mehbooba said, PDP’s Self Rule formula was the best option as already described by the “saner voices” of South Asia.
The former CM said Pakistan was now giving positive vibes about its realisation that meaningful and peaceful engagement was the only possible way forward, and the Government of India should reciprocate positively to every initiative of peace and reconciliation.
Earlier, in a surprise development, Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq too batted for talks and announced on Sunday that the conglomerate led by him was “ready to support all Indo-Pak efforts aimed at ending hostility and seeking a peaceful solution” to the Kashmir issue.
The announcement came on the day polling for the last of the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections was being held.
Speaking at a seminar in connection with the “hafta shahdat” at the Hurriyat office in Srinagar, the Mirwaiz said Hurriyat was ready to support if India and Pakistan started fresh talks on Kashmir. “Kashmir issue is a reality and the new dispensation in India has to engage with the reality of the Kashmir issue and address it,” he said.
The Mirwaiz said Hurriyat was ready to support all Indo-Pak efforts aimed at ending hostility and seeking a peaceful solution, adding that they were not against talks but India should accept Kashmir as a disputed territory. “We aren’t against the people of India, we are against the policies of India which are being implemented in Kashmir.”
The Mirwaiz said it was “unfortunate” that New Delhi had choked all means of peaceful protests, seminars, and even pro- freedom leaders weren’t allowed to meet people. “How can ideas come up when the entire space stands choked,” he said.
Invoking former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Hurriyat leader said even the late BJP leader had realised that dialogue was the only solution to resolve Kashmir. “That’s why he advocated solution within the ambit of humanity,” he said.