Na-Mo Summit at Ufa;CM says 'defining moment', Hurriyat-M reminds Kashmir

We cannot remain hostage to interests of India, Pak: Malik ; Mainstream, separatists welcome talks, seek JK specific CBMs

SRINAGAR: Kashmir's mainstream and separatist leaders have welcomed with varied tones the high-level talks between Indian and Pakistani premiers at the sidelines of SCO meet in Ufa, Russia on Friday. While the Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed describes the event as a "defining moment" the leader of Hurriyat Conference-M Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has sought to make Kashmir as the core agenda of talks between the two countries. Chairman of JKLF Yasin Malik, however, has expressed disappointment and asked both countries not to hold the Kashmiris hostage to their respective interests.

 Welcoming the revival of the stalled dialogue process between India and Pakistan, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has said that Prime Minister,  Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart,  Nawaz Sharif have marked a new beginning with their much-awaited meeting in the Russian city of Ufa on the sidelines of Shanghai Corporation Organization (SCO) summit.

“We warmly welcome the latest initiative by the Prime Minister of our country and his Pakistani counterpart to revive the peace process between the two neighboring countries,” Sayeed said in a statement here.

Pertinently, Friday’s meeting at Ufa was the first structured dialogue between India and Pakistan since Sharif attended Modi’s swearing-in event in Delhi last year.

“We see a ray of hope in the fresh initiative and hope that it would turn out to be a defining moment in the Indo-Pak ties,” Sayeed said and added that his Government would be looking forward to not only stabilization of borders in J&K but also the revival and expansion of the JK-specific Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), which are presently in a limbo. He said the vision of a peaceful and prosperous South Asia will receive a boost with the concrete measures especially with regard to the cross LoC travel and trade.

He expressed the hope that the new initiative by the Prime Ministers of the two countries would lead to sustained and uninterruptible dialogue which would realize peace and stability in the region. “Such a peaceful atmosphere would allow the people of Jammu and Kashmir to reap fully the benefits of democratic system in which they have repeatedly invested their faith without adequate response so far in terms of solving their problems,” Sayeed said.

Sayeed said friendship between India and Pakistan is of prime importance for releasing the creative energies from decades long atmosphere of hostility of which Jammu and Kashmir has been the main victim. “Jammu and Kashmir has borne the brunt of wars, militancy and a destabilized political situation as a result of the conflict between the two countries, and it is a good omen that a fresh beginning has been made by the two Prime Ministers at a crucial stage of the region’s history,” he said.

He also hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s positive response to Nawaz Sharif’s invite to visit Pakistan. “We would be looking up with renewed hope to a new beginning on resolution of the problems of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said and added that the measures announced in the joint statement indicate a significant progress in carrying forward the peace process and building of trust between the two neighbors that is important for finding a lasting solution to the problems of Jammu and Kashmir. “I hope this will turn out to be a significant step to set a new agenda for reconciliation and resolution between the two countries,” he said.

Sayeed said the SAARC formatting of the initiative was a very constructive approach which could augur well for realizing the economic potential of the South Asian region.

Equating the Jammu and Kashmir to a bridge, he said, "I wish this would bridge the gap between the two nations."  

Meanwhile Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, head of Hurriyat Conference-M, has stressed upon the need for a sustained dialogue process between the two countries to create favorable conditions for the resolution of all outstanding issues between the two including the core issue of Kashmir.

Addressing a Friday congregation at the historic Jamia Masjid Srinagar, Mirwaiz stated that the people of Kashmir and Hurriyat have always supported the dialogue between the two countries so that it could foster cordial relations and encourage both nations to take necessary confidence building measures in order to move towards the resolution of the pending issues.

Mirwaiz stated that though there are a number of contending issues between the two countries but it remains a fact that Kashmir has always remained the fundamental cause of sour relationship and at times armed conflict between the two nations. He added that being the core issue the prudence demands that this issue takes the preference in the dialogue process while as other issues are the product of the non resolution of core issue, so he said once the core issue is addressed the resolution of other peripheral issues will automatically become easier.  

APHC Chairman questioned the merit of suspension of the dialogue between the two countries when government of India unilaterally suspended the foreign secretary level talks a year ago, adding, if former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s initiative, wherein he had said that “everything is possible within the ambit of humanity”, should have been continued, things would have substantially moved forward.

While welcoming the change in the stance of present Indian ruling establishment which otherwise has remained stubborn in relation to the dialogue with Pakistan, Mirwaiz stated the Kashmir dispute should acquire a focal status in the dialogue process without which any successes remains doubtful.

JKLF Chief Yasin Malik, however, expressed disappointment saying that the dialogue should not be for fun, time pass and putting real issues to the back burner. "Kashmiris are not against peace and progress between Indian and Pakistan. We want these two countries to get together and resolve their issues but at the same time Indian and Pakistani leadership will have to also demonstrate some magnanimity regarding Kashmiris," Malik said adding that the two countries cannot prosper and progress while keeping the entire Kashmiri nation as hostage to their petty gains. He said that India and Pakistan had held several round of talks from last 68 years but had repeatedly failed to make any progress especially on Kashmir. "This non-seriousness and Inconclusive attitude is responsible for disaster of Kashmiri nation which has lost its three generations during last six decades", said Yasin Malik.  

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