National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Sunday said talks were the only way forward to herald peace in Jammu and Kashmir and hoped that the Centre would soon take an initiative to start a dialogue in this regard with Pakistan and all the other stakeholders.
Abdullah also wished a blissful pilgrimage to those visiting the holy cave shrine of Amarnath at a height of 3,880 metres in the south Kashmir Himalayas.
“The process of dialogue should be initiated with all shades of opinion in Jammu and Kashmir, as also with Pakistan to achieve the larger objective of peace in the state,” he said on the sidelines of a function at Lakhanpur in Kathua district.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said history stood testimony to the fact that all contentious issues were sorted out by sitting around the table and hoped that the process of dialogue would be initiated by India and Pakistan, “sooner the better”.
He recalled that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had initiated talks with Pakistan even after hostilities between the two neighbouring countries in a bid to improve the relations.
“The beneficiaries of the dialogue will be the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who have been bearing the brunt of the hostilities,” Abdullah said while exuding confidence that the Indo-Pak talks would lead to the culmination of violence in the state.
He reiterated that a dialogue with all the stakeholders with an avowed objective of addressing the internal and external dimensions of the Jammu and Kashmir imbroglio, which he described as “political” in character, would be a major initiative towards lasting peace in the region.
“The NC has constantly been maintaining that Indo-Pak bonhomie will usher in a new era of peace and prosperity in our state. Animosity can achieve nothing but destruction,” the former Union minister said.
On the commencement of the 46-day-long Amarnath Yatra from here, he said the pilgrimage was a symbol of communal harmony and hoped that it would further foster the bonds of amity and brotherhood.
Abdullah said he would be visiting the Amarnath Yatra base camp in a few days to oversee the arrangements for the pilgrimage.