Kashmir opposition parties pitch for India, Pakistan dialogue - Firstpost
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Kashmir opposition parties pitch for India, Pakistan dialogue

Srinagar: Opposition parties led by National Conference on Friday said India and Pakistan should hold talks for the resolution of Kashmir issue and the Centre should initiate a political process in the state, stressing that war is not the solution.

"We are all concerned about peace in Jammu and Kashmir. India and Pakistan should sit on a table and resolve this issue," NC president Farooq Abdullah told reporters after chairing a meeting of leaders of opposition parties, including Congress and CPM.

Farooq Abdullah. AFP

Farooq Abdullah. AFP

"Through dialogue, our (Kashmir) issue will also be resolved. War is not a solution," he said. Recalling Atal Bihari Vajpayee's famous speech in Kashmir in 2002, Abdullah said the then Prime Minister had maintained that friends can be changed but not neighbours. "If we live in peace with neighbours, we will all prosper. If we take the route of confrontation, their development might be hampered but ours will also be affected," he said.

Terming the prevailing situation in the Valley as "dangerous", he said all parties should work together for peace for which a political process has to be initiated. "We are unanimous that the current situation is dangerous. The sooner it is resolved the better it is for the state and the South Asian region.

"It is a political issue. The Prime Minister has said it needs to be resolved and it is even in the agenda of the ruling party (PDP) to have a dialogue with all stakeholders, including Hurriyat Conference," Abdullah, who was accompanied by leaders from other opposition parties, said.

He said for the dialogue process to start, all political prisoners and youth arrested during the current unrest should be set free. The opposition parties also demanded a commission headed
by a retired Supreme Court judge to probe the deaths and loss of eyesight due to use of pellet guns in Kashmir and find who is responsible.

The former Chief Minister said if the government was serious about improving the situation in Kashmir, it should stop the security forces from allegedly indulging in vandalisation of homes and harassment of inmates.

"The government should also reconsider its decision to hold annual school examinations (in November). The schools have been closed for three and half months. The examinations should be delayed...It has been done in the past," he said.

Asked if the demands of opposition parties will embolden the terrorists, Abdullah said, "If we resolve this issue, there will be no terrorism. If the two nations resolve this issue, terrorism will die automatically."

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