India and Pakistan must talk and solve the Kashmir issue to end terrorism in the region, former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said on Friday, after a meeting of opposition parties that rooted for talks with all, including separatists, to end the ongoing bloody unrest that has crippled normal life for over three months in the valley. Abdullah had called the meeting of state opposition parties to discuss the India-Pakistan stand-off, its impact on the already volatile situation in the Kashmir Valley and the situation on the tense border between the two countries.
Abdullah, in his first public comments since the eruption of the unrest in early July that has left over 90 people dead, said all opposition political parties in Jammu and Kashmir yearned for peace in the state and between India and Pakistan. “Both countries must sit and have talks on Kashmir. That is the only solution to end terrorism. Otherwise, it will keep on escalating,” Abdullah told reporters after the meeting.
“All of us are looking for the way forward and not looking back at what happened. 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.” Asked if his comments would embolden militants in Kashmir, Abdullah said: “If we resolve this issue (Kashmir), there will be no terrorism. If the two nations resolve this issue, terrorism will die automatically.”
The National Conference President said dialogue process was the only way forward to end the Kashmir problem. He urged the central and state governments to have a political dialogue, including with separatists, on finding a political solution to the political issue. “The Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has said it needs to be resolved and it is even part of the agenda of the ruling party (PDP) to have a dialogue with all stakeholders, including the Hurriyat Conference.” “Through dialogue, our (Kashmir) issue will also be resolved. War is not a solution. When former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee can reach out to Pakistan for peace why can't we speak to our own people?”
Abdullah said the current situation in the valley was “very dangerous” and needed an urgent way out. “The sooner it is resolved, the better it is for the state and the South Asian region.” He demanded from the government immediate release of all separatist leaders who have been jailed or detained in their respective houses during the three months of turmoil that has left thousands injured since the July 8 killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.