Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said now was the right time for separatists to come forward for dialogue. She said the unilateral ceasefire and dialogue offer “opportunity does not come every day”.
“We always say that J&K is a political problem and needs a solution. The Army, CRPF or the police cannot resolve it. It can only be resolved politically through dialogue and when there is an offer of dialogue from the Centre, I request all stakeholders to come forward to save J&K and its economy,” Mehbooba said while addressing a Peoples Democratic Party’s delegate convention of central Kashmir in Srinagar.
Mehbooba, however, said she could not “force or dictate terms” to separatists, but would only request them “as it is the right time to use this opportunity of talks”. “A youth got killed after he came under a (security forces) vehicle during a stone-throwing incident. He was an orphan but why take to stone-throwing in the first place. Why not give these boys a way out from stone-throwing and gun culture. We gave you unilateral ceasefire, now it is up to you (the separatists). I request them to take this opportunity,” the CM said.
Mehbooba said separatists always say that military solution is no solution and only dialogue is the way forward. “So, today you have an offer of dialogue from the Home Minister. They (Centre) are saying that come and talk to us. I think if J&K has to be taken out of the difficult times, then all — be it mainstream or separatists — have to come forward and use this opportunity. Such an opportunity does not come every day,” she said. She said people of Kashmir and the leadership had to decide that they should get the benefit of the unilateral ceasefire announced by the Centre.
“The Home Minister of this country is saying that they want to embrace Kashmiris and are ready for talks. If this opportunity is lost, tomorrow there would be nobody left to plead our case. The eyes of the whole country are on J&K and its leadership to see what they decide,” she added.
Mehbooba, who is also the president of the PDP, said grenades and violence would not achieve anything.
“Despite the unilateral ceasefire, there are grenade attacks. There have been thousands of grenade attacks till now, thousands have picked up guns and become militants, but what has been achieved?” she asked.
On the Indo-Pak friendship, she said it was in the best interest of the people of the state as it had a direct bearing on the people here.
“Even the arch-rivals North Korea and South Korea are now meeting to sort out issues, why can’t we?” she asked and pitched for opening of more historic routes in the state to increase people-to-people contact. “Help me in maintaining peace, I assure you of opening of more such historic routes in the state,” she said.
Appeals for fresh DGMO-level meeting
Srinagar: Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday appealed to the Directors-General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan to hold talks again to stop fresh bloodshed along the border. “The fresh shelling along the border is unfortunate and has happened despite the DGMOs talks. We have lost two BSF men and many civilians have been injured. This should not happen. People on both sides are dying. The DGMOs should talk again to stop the bloodshed and shelling on the border,” Mehbooba told reporters on the sidelines of a party function in Srinagar on Sunday. Two BSF men, including an officer, were killed on Sunday as the Pakistan Rangers targeted Indian posts along the International Border in the Jammu region. The fresh ceasefire violation took place days after the DGMOs of the two countries agreed to implement the 2003 ceasefire agreement.