JAMMU: Former Chief Minister and People’s Democratic Party(PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti said today that though Pakistan and separatistsmay be the part of problem (in Kashmir) but they have to be made part ofresolution by engaging them (in the talks).
She was speaking at the Aaj Tak conclave in NewDelhi on Monday. “Whosoever is killed inKashmir is ours. To stop bloodshed in the Valley, we need to hold talks.Pakistan and separatists have to be made part of resolution. We need to engagewith them,” she said.
Saying that Pakistan has interference in Jammuand Kashmir to spoil situation, Mehbooba said: “We have to reconcile withPakistan as our State is the worst sufferer. Imran Khan (the Pakistan PrimeMinister) has offered talks, Why we have been saying no. Kashmiris are gettingkilled daily”.
Mehbooba said there was 60 percent voting inJammu and Kashmir when her father late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had acknowledgedPakistan role in peaceful polling.
“Now when there is Pakistan interference, theturnout was just two percent,” she said in an apparent reference to low turnoutin recently concluded Panchayat and Municipal elections in some parts of theValley.
She recalled that Atal Bihari Vajpayee, theformer Prime Minister went to Lahore though it was followed by Kargil andParliament attack but still he ordered ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Pakistan is an important link to restore peacein Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir separatists, Pakistan and the Government of Indiahad to reconcile. Let us open all routes. A Kashmiri can reach China within 18hours if all routes are opened. What will be more freedom than this? LikeKartarpur corridor, let the two countries open Sharda Peeth route,” she said.
“If Imran is a proxy of the Pak army then thisis the best time to talk. When Imran Khan says he is ready to talk, to opencorridors, then I think Army is also on the same page…,” Mehbooba said.
She said the “best bargain” for India, vis-a-visthe Kashmir issue, was during the time when Pervez Musharraf was the Presidentof Pakistan as during that time ceasefire was initiated at the border and theMuzaffarabad route was opened up. “Thetalks could be beneficial now….Why should we not talk?” she asked.
The PDP leader also said her party will “joinhands” with any political party that will support the “resolution of the Jammuand Kashmir issue.If we can join hands with the BJP, we can do so with anyonefor resolution of the J-K issue,” she said.
Asserting that Jammu and Kashmir is ours andit’s our responsibility to end bloodshed there, the former Chief Minister saidtalks can be held on this very issue with Pakistan and the neighbouring countrycan be asked to stop infiltration. “At least, a beginning should be made,” sheasserted.
Mehbooba said the killing of militants won’tserve the purpose.“A militant is killed but his idea remains alive. When a15-year old boy is buried in the graveyard, a militant becomes an example. Weneed to stop this,” she said.
She added that militancy was under control from2004-2008 because the Government had good terms with Pakistan.“Jammu andKashmir can become an example for SAARC nations. These countries can have theiroffices in Kashmir. This will create good atmosphere among the neighbouringcountries,” Mehbooba said.
Noting that some organizations ask for pre-1947and others for pre-1953 situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba said IndiraGandhi had stated that the clock can’t be reversed “but it’s not moving forwardeither. We must hold talks with Pakistan and Hurriyat Conference”.