Amid heightened tensions at the border, opposition parties of Jammu and Kashmir, led by National Conference, on Friday held a meeting over the current “dangerous situation” and disfavoured war, saying India and Pakistan should hold talks to resolve the Kashmir issue. “We are all concerned about peace in Jammu and Kashmir. India and Pakistan should sit on a table and resolve this issue,” NC president Farooq Abdullah told reporters after chairing the meeting also attended by leaders of Congress and CPI(M).
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“We appeal to both the countries that war is no solution. If there is any solution, it is the dialogue… Through dialogue, our (Kashmir) issue will also be resolved. War is not a solution,” he said. Noting that both India and Pakistan are nuclear-armed countries, the former Chief Minister said, “We are unanimous that the current situation is dangerous. The sooner it is resolved the better it is for the state and the South Asian region.”
He also wanted the Centre to initiate internal dialogue in Kashmir, saying it will help defuse the situation. Recalling Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s famous speech in Kashmir in 2002, Abdullah said the then Prime Minister had maintained that friends can be changed but not neighbours.
“If we live in peace with neighbours, we will all prosper. If we take the route of confrontation, their development might be hampered but ours will also be affected,” he said.
Abdullah, who was accompanied by leaders from other opposition parties, said, “It is a political issue. The Prime Minister has said it needs to be resolved and it is even in the agenda of the ruling party (PDP) to have a dialogue with all stakeholders, including Hurriyat Conference.”
He said for the dialogue process to start, all political prisoners and youth arrested during the current unrest should be set free. The opposition parties also demanded a commission headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to probe the deaths and loss of eyesight due to use of pellet guns in Kashmir and find who is responsible. They also demanded a special session of the state Assembly to discuss the prevailing situation.
“Let the people put forward their views and suggestions in the House. May be we will find some solution,” Abdullah said. The NC leader, who has also served as a Union Minister, refused to comment on the Uri terror attack, saying, “Today we are concerned about peace and saving the state. We are not forgetting the sacrifices of the soldiers”.
Asked if the demands of opposition parties will embolden the terrorists, Abdullah said, “If we resolve this issue, there will be no terrorism. If the two nations resolve this issue, terrorism will die automatically.”