The thaw in the relations between India and Pakistan has changed the narrative in Kashmir with the valley-centric mainstream political parties and also the Hurriyat Conference appreciating the shift wherein Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Pakistan PM Imran Khan have started taking steps to restore friendly relations.
The Hurriyat and other Kashmir based political parties that were for the past 20- months loud in criticising the BJP government for scrapping the Article 370, were now in the forefront suggesting a credible dialogue between the two countries to bring sustainable peace in the region.
Residents of the areas along the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir have been the real victims of the bitter relations as many among them lost their lives or were seriously wounded due to frequent shelling and exchange of fire between troops of the two countries. Restoration of the ceasefire that was initially ordered by both countries 18 years ago during the Vajpayee era in 2003 has come as a relief for residents on both sides of the border. There was expectation that Pakistan would respond positively to Modi on Monday writing a letter to Imran conveying greetings to the people of Pakistan on their National Day. Modi also expressed the desire of India for cordial relations with the people of Pakistan for which “an environment of trust, devoid of terror and hostility, is imperative”.
PDP leader and former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, with whose party the BJP had forged an alliance to share power but later dumped her, on Wednesday appreciated Modi for writing to Imran.
The ongoing meeting of India and Pakistan in New Delhi on the Indus Waters after a gap of two years was also being seen as a friendly gesture. These steps have come after relations between India and Pakistan further nosedived in 14 February 2019 when the suicide terror attack at a CRPF convoy in Pulwama resulted in martyrdom of 40 soldiers and this was retaliated by the Indian air strike at terrorist training camps in Balakot on 26 February.
The Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has welcomed the shift towards good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan.
The Mirwaiz sees this as the “first step” in the direction of meaningful dialogue for peaceful resolution of the Kashmir conflict. He said Hurriyat is ready to extend full support to all initiatives between the two countries that aim at bringing peace and prosperity to all people of the subcontinent and seek a fair and peaceful resolution of the “Kashmir dispute”.