Hold Talks With Pak: CPI (M)

NEW DELHI — Urging for a diplomatic initiative to hold unconditional dialogue with Pakistan, the CPI(M) said on Thursday that Home Minister Rajnath Singh's offer to hold talks with Hurriyat leaders in Kashmir should also be taken forward.

In an editorial in party organ 'Peoples Democracy', former CPI(M) general-secretary Prakash Karat said there is no reason why a broader dialogue cannot be started with Pakistan if the national security advisors of the two countries can meet and the Directors-General of Military Operations can confabulate.

"Along with that, the offer of talks with Pakistan that Rajnath Singh extended, should be taken forward. But it cannot be conditional to what both the home minister and the defence minister stated that talks and terror cannot go together.

"Just as Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to arrive at some modus vivendi with President Xi Jinping at Wuhan, similarly, there is the need for a diplomatic initiative on the Pakistan front," Karat wrote.

The editorial came at a time when Singh is in Jammu and Kashmir on a two-day visit from today to review the security situation, partcularly after May 16, when the Centre unilaterally announced suspension of anti-terror operations during Ramzan.

The Hurriyat Conference has offered to hold talks with the Union government but has also put some conditions.

On May 26, Singh said the government is ready to hold talks with Hurriyat if its leadership is ready. As far as Pakistan is concerned, he said, the government is ready to hold talks with Islamabad if it comes forward with a proposal. 

Stating that the people in Kashmir do not have much faith in the prospects of a political dialogue to find a political settlement because of a hardline security stance, the Left leader alleged the situation in the valley has "deteriorated" since the Modi government assumed office four years ago.

Karat emphasised that "some degree of trust" was required between the people of Kashmir and the Centre for a meaningful dialogue. He suggested that Singh should extend the ceasefire announced during Ramzan for another specified period.

In Srinagar today, Home Minister Singh said the Centre has decided to withdraw cases against those "misled into stone pelting" as it was concerned about the future of the youth.

Karat said authorities should announce the withdrawal of the use of pellet guns against stone-pelters and separatist leaders such as Shabir Shah, who are being treated as common criminals in jail, should be released.

He called for prompt action against any excess committed by security forces on civilians.

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