December 14, 2016 9:55:48 pm
Opposition National Conference president Farooq Abdullah today said there was no alternative to unconditional dialogue with all stakeholders in Kashmir as well as comprehensive talks with Pakistan to find a lasting solution to the Kashmir issue. “New Delhi should acknowledge the growing costs of its refusal to acknowledge that a political problem exists in Kashmir and that the central government should waste no further time in initiating dialogue and reconciliation,” he told the civil society delegation led by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha.
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Farooq appreciated the delegation’s efforts in reaching out to various stakeholders in the state.
The three-member civil society delegation led by Sinha arrived on a second visit to Kashmir on December 10.
The NC president said New Delhi should talk to all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir irrespective of their political ideologies or their proposed methods of resolving the issue.
“Holding unconditional dialogue is the only way out and talking to those who might disagree with your views remains to be the unquestionable benchmark of successful conflict resolution,” he said.
The NC leader said an offer of dialogue should be extended to all stakeholders willing to engage in an effort to bring the state out of the morass.
The biggest challenge for the delegation would be to tide over the enormous trust deficit and restore the eroded credibility of the institution of dialogue, the former chief minister said.
“Past initiatives have either been abandoned midway or treated with contempt by successive governments in New Delhi. This has created a sense of helplessness and hopelessness in the state, especially among the younger generation. To convince this younger generation about the sincerity of any future initiative remains the primary challenge,” he said.
Farooq said the Centre by withdrawing political initiatives and outreach in times of peace had unfortunately given an impression that it would turn its attention towards the state only in times of turmoil.
This tendency to ignore Kashmir during lack of visible political turmoil and unrest has amounted to widespread alienation and resentment, he said, adding while pacifying a tumultuous unrest is vital in order to save precious human lives, resolving the basic political issue should remain the most important goal for New Delhi.
In the absence of any such credible and meaningful initiatives to resolve the political issue, there will always be provocations to trigger various manifestations of unrest in the state, the NC president said.
“To treat the symptoms while ignoring the underlying cause remains the tragedy of New Delhi’s repeated mishandling of this vexed political issue,” he said.
The NC leader impressed upon the visiting delegation to convince New Delhi to take serious steps to take the state out of this intractable political quagmire.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir have suffered enormously due to the prolonged political conflict that remains unresolved. We are the primary victims of animosity between India and Pakistan and would also be the primary beneficiaries of peace between the two neighbours, he said.
“When we advocate dialogue with Pakistan, we are doing that with an earnest desire to see an end to bloodshed and suffering not only in J&K but the entire region in general,” he added.
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