Political opinion divided over PM-Sharif talks

Political opinion in Jammu and Kashmir is divided over whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should hold dialogue with his Pakistani counterpart after twin terror attacks in Jammu carried out by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists on Thursday.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be meeting his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif during his visit to the UN General Assembly, US.

A spokesman of the principal opposition party, People's Democratic Party (PDP), Naeem Akhtar said, "We condemn this attack. We see this as an act not just against the country but also against people of J&K."

"It is an attempt to derail talks between our PM and his Pakistani counterpart. Such attack does not mean that in future if there is a similar attack, we should not hold talks. We think that there is no substitute to talks. No one can shoot down peace process," Akhtar said.

Saifuddin Soz, MP, and president of J&K Pradesh Congress Committee, while condemning the attacks, said, "It is really very unfortunate that conspirators of the attack from Pakistan are not on the same page with Nawaz Sharif and it is also an indication that the conspirators have decided to derail talks between India and Pakistan. It is also a message to Nawaz Sharif that such activities have to be crushed with iron hand. Pakistan should know that such terrorist activities cannot go hand in hand with its (Pakistan's) desire to promote cordial relations with India."

PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said though the attack looks deliberately timed to sabotage the scheduled meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart, it is a matter of relief that Singh is going ahead with this important engagement.

He said such incidents have in the past proved hurdle in carrying forward the peace process that was started in 2003 to a considerable relief for the people of Jammu & Kashmir.

CPM state secretary Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami feels that the audacious attack was carried out with the motive to just not allow two Prime Ministers to hold dialogue.

"In my opinion we should not oblige those who wanted to scuttle the peace process. Our strength lies in holding talks and to find a meaningful solution," he added.

On whether the attack has dampened the trust between India and Pakistan, Tarigami said, "They are targeted. Trust, dialogue has been dampened. This is what they wanted. We should in no way oblige them and we should adopt the path of dialogue."

Former union minister of state for defence, Chaman Lal Gupta sees holding of talks between two premiers in the wake of the terror attack as meaningless.

"On one side, there are terror attacks from Pakistan and on the other hand they want talks. Terror and talks cannot go side by side. Earlier, during PM's visit to US, there was an attack in the Rajouri area of Jammu. Every time terrorists have shown their presence. In my view, first we have to finish terrorism then we should go for talks," Gupta said.

BJP national executive member Nirmal Singh said, "Holding of talks for the sake of talks is not going to yield any positive results and the prime duty of the union government should be to exert pressure on Pakistan to dismantle terrorist camps from its soil."

"Whatever has happened in Hiranagar and Samba is the latest episode of the decades' long continuous proxy war waged by Pakistan against India," he added.


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