Warning hawks against fanning fire on both sides of the border, Jammu and Kashmir's largest opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party's (PDP) patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed on Monday took pot shots at chief minister Omar Abdullah for his "war rhetoric".
"There has never been any dearth of hawks in the two neighbouring countries, calling for bullet-for-bullet policy... But those who advocate violence have been at a safe distance from the nearest bullet fired or house bombed," said Sayeed.
Referring to Omar's recent statements, Sayeed, also former union home minister, said, "The changed discourse following the 2002 elections had made peace rather than war, its centre piece. That consensus was broken recently when the chief minister called for 'other options' and a 'response in kind' at a time when shells and bullets were taking their toll on both sides of the divide."
He alleged that the statements "go beyond the usual lack of sensitivity to the people's sentiment and looks like a part of a script to sacrifice the interests of the state for some other objective".
The PDP leader said his party sees war as no option. "If we could tackle the Kargil intrusion without going for a full scale war, if the Parliament attack could see the longest ceasefire between the two countries coming in the wake of troop mobilisation, one fails to understand the logic of war mongering now in absence of any major provocation," he said.
Asking both countries to scale down escalation, Sayeed said, "The border firing has nothing to do with the conflict around Kashmir because both countries realise that use of force cannot bring any change in its status. The issue has to be addressed politically."
Stressing upon the two countries "to respect the yearning for peace in J&K", Sayeed said, "Vajpayee did that in 2003 with resounding results when it looked that finally the jinx around Kashmir was being neutralised. People of this state continue to nurture the same sentiment and want that the peace process be revived and taken to its next level."
He claimed that one of the reasons for current tensions is the failure to build on the ceasefire agreement of 2003 and use the same for further normalisation, easing travel and trade and expanding its scope and scale. "That is the only route to salvation for the state and the region," he added.
The PDP has decided to take out a peace march on November 4 in Srinagar "to convey to our national leadership the concern for the deterioration in security environment and the need to mend it through peaceful means".
"The message has to go across to Pakistani leadership as well to spare the state and the region any fresh adventures. The concerns of the people of Jammu & Kashmir as the frontline state must be respected and ceasefire restored," said Sayeed.