Sajad Lone bats for dialogue on Kashmir

Sajad Lone addressing party workers in Srinagar, Aman Farooq/GK

Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone on Thursday underscored the need for dialogue to resolve Kashmir issue, saying “hard measures can only contain a problem, but won’t resolve it”.

Talking to reporters on sidelines of a function organized by his party here, Lone said conflicts can be resolved only through dialogue.

“History stands witness to the fact that no outstanding issue has been resolved without talks. When you take hard measures you can contain a problem but won’t resolve it. Containment does not mean you have cured a disease. The disease is still there,” he said.

To a question about US President Donald Trump’s offer for mediation on Kashmir, Lone said New Delhi will never agree on third party intervention on Kashmir.

“All of us know that New Delhi will never agree on third party mediation on Kashmir. Whether it is third party mediation or bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan, either of the two are welcome measures. Rather than communicating through violence, the best form of civilized way to resolve conflicts is to sit across table and sort out the issues,” he said.

Lone said his party would not compromise with special status of Jammu and Kashmir. “I want to tell you that we will not compromise with the Article 370, internal autonomy and special constitutional provisions for J&K,” he said.

Lone also lashed out at National Conference and Congress for “eroding” the State’s autonomy.

“Article 370 was a 10-storey building and its nine storeys have been demolished. And the people responsible for its demolition now want people to make them guardian of remaining one floor. Those who demolished nine storeys would raze entire building,” he said, adding that those responsible for bulldozing Article 370 during the past 70 years should be held accountable.

Alleging that thousands of innocent Kashmiris were killed during the rule of National Conference, Lone said the party (NC) can’t side with “both martyrs and killers”.

“I saw Farooq Abdullah showering flowers on the graves of 1931 martyrs. I salute martyrs of 1931. But I want to ask Farooq Abdullah whether those killed during 1996 to 2002 and 2008 to 2014 are  martyrs or not. If they are martyrs, then Farooq Abdullah has no right (to enter martyr’s graveyard),” he said.

While welcoming Mushtaq Ahmed Ganai, former NC constituency In-charge from Charar-e-Sharif into the party fold, along with his workers, Lone said the PC was all set and ready to be the “vehicle of change and deliver to the people of J&K a vibrant state”. “We believe in economic empowerment. It is our belief that strong political empowerment cannot be achieved with economic empowerment,” he said