Kashmiris should be engaged in reconciliatory manner: Farooq Abdullah

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SRINAGAR: National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah today said successive central governments had failed to engage with the sentiment in Kashmir in a sustainable and reconciliatory manner.
Talking to various public delegations that called on him here, Dr Abdullah said there never was and never would be an alternative to a broad-based, nuanced and sustained political engagement with stakeholders in Kashmir and that it was the moral duty of the country’s leadership to resolve the Kashmir issue without any further, protracted delay.
“Sadly, successive central governments in New Delhi failed to engage with the political sentiment in Kashmir in a sustained, detailed and planned manner so that this issue could be resolved once and for all. While various initiatives were announced and started at various junctures, almost all of them were plagued by a lack of political will and consistency. The effect of these initiatives is far more crucial to the welfare of our people than purely the intent and sadly these initiatives were left halfway or were half-hearted to start with. For any progress towards the goal of ushering the State and the region into a corrective era of peace and stability, this pattern needs to change,” NC president said.
He added that country’s leadership was morally bound to find a sustainable solution to a political issue that had consumed thousands of lives and resulted in multiple military conflicts in the sub-continent especially detrimental to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “It is the moral duty of the Prime Minister and his Government to take every possible reconciliatory measure to initiate a process that would see the resolution of this issue as per the aspirations of the people. The Kashmir issue has both internal and external dimensions and this makes sustained and comprehensive engagement with our neighbours equally important. Both internal and external engagement should go on simultaneously,” the former chief minister added.
“We need to empathise with the victims of this conflict and understand their woes will not go away by our rhetoric and stentorian speeches alone. They need closure and justice and there can be no alternative to a political initiative that is serious, politically empowered and sustainable. The central government needs to explore every possible way to reach out to every quarter of opinion in the state irrespective of their political ideologies or rhetoric. We need to move away from entrenched public posturing on this issue and understand human lives are priceless and are far more important than our rhetoric. We owe the people of Kashmir our empathy and solidarity,” the NC president said.