Don’t sidestep Kashmir: PDP to India,Pak
Srinagar, Sep 9: Day after India and Pakistan signed a liberalized visa regime and agreed to speed up cross-LoC confidence building measures, opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Sunday ‘woke up’ to warn the two countries against ignoring Kashmir in the latest “reconciliatory process”, saying it would have serious ramifications on the overall scenario.
Adressing a press conference here today PDP president, Mehbooba Mufti demanded that Kashmir-centric Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) should be made part of the fresh dialogue process between the neighboring countries to pave way for lasting Kashmir solution.
The Indo-Pak Foreign Minister level talks on Saturday concluded with both the countries signing the liberalized visa agreement, introducing for the first time group tourist and pilgrim visas, separate visa for businessmen and visa on arrival for those over 65 years of age.
“The talks (between India and Pakistan on Saturday) were historical and the CBMs taken are beneficial for both India and Pakistan and the whole subcontinent,” Mehbooba said. “Unfortunately Jammu and Kashmir has been isolated. It is not a right decision.”
Mehbooba said J&K should have been the first beneficiary of this process as it has always been the worst sufferer of the Indo-Pak animosity.
“We welcome the initiatives taken by the two countries but Kashmiris should not be sidestepped,” she said.
Flanked by party’s chief spokesman, Naeem Akthar, Mehbooba said J&K emerged as a “bridge” between India and Pakistan when the countries started a political process in 2003.
She said the process of reconciliation started from Kashmir when Vajpayee Ji (former Prime Minister) extended hand of friendship to Pakistan from the soil of Kashmir.
She said it resulted in the ceasefire along LoC, start of dialogue process between New Delhi and separatists and opening of roads between divided parts of Kashmir for trade and travel.
However, she said the process has been pushed into limbo and instead of moving forward it was going backward. “The decisions taken by the two countries earlier to provide banking and communication facilities for cross LoC trade, extending travel facilities beyond the divided families and opening more routes have been shelved,” Mehbooba said. “Why can’t be the visa facilities and other recent decisions taken by the two countries extended to J&K.”
She said shelving the CBMs taken in 2003 would have serious fallout on the situation and peace in the subcontinent. “Jammu and Kashmir has to be a bridge for an everlasting friendship between the two countries,” she reiterated.
Mehbooba threatened her party would launch an agitation if Kashmir was put on a backburner.
‘FAIZAN INCIDENT A SHAME’
Mehbooba said: “It is a shame for the country that 11-year old Faizan Sofi was booked for waging war against the country.”
She said the current situation of “alienation” was responsible for Faizan like incidents.
“It shows how government is dealing with the situation which is now going backwards,” Mehbooba said. “Young boys are rotting in juvenile homes and separatists were caged.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 9 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 9 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 10 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
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