Chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed here on Monday welcomed talks between national security advisors (NSAs) of India and Pakistan in Bangkok, hoping it will set the tone for reconciliation between the two neighbouring countries.
He stressed upon the need to restore trust deficit and favoured sustained and meaningful dialogue between New Delhi and Islamabad. “It is a good beginning. I am happy that bilateral talks between NSAs of India and Pakistan were held quietly,” the chief minister said.
He added that the fresh round of talks will help in carrying forward peace and reconciliatory moves to embed political stability in the region, especially Jammu and Kashmir.
Meanwhile, the political parties in the state have reacted divergently to the NSA-level talks and external affairs minister Sushma Sawaraj’s Tuesday’s visit to Pakistan.
The Congress said it was another U-turn by the Modi government and situation on the ground had worsened in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The Modi government does not have a clear policy on Pakistan. The situation along the border has worsened because of the consistent firing, while Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif has written a letter of support to hardcore separatist Asiya Andrabi, who addressed on the Pakistan’s national day. There is no other alternative then to hold talks, but terror and talks can’t go together and the government must explain to the nation what has changed on the ground,” said Congress spokesperson Ravinder Sharma.
The PDP, welcoming the talks, said the Congress shouldn’t try to derail them and think above party politics.
“The Indo-Pak talks are what we had talked about and hoped for a long time. The PDP-BJP agenda of alliance, stitched after two-month negotiations, clearly mentions that talks should be held. Kashmir witnessed a tangible positive change when Atal Bihari Vajpayee started dialogue with Pakistan and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was the chief minister,” said PDP spokesperson Mehboob Beg.
He added that the Congress shouldn’t oppose the talks as issues of national and international importance were above politics, though it (Cong) itself carried forward the process of engaging Pakistan in its government.
The chief minister, at a rally addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Srinagar on November 7, had asked the PM to start talks with Pakistan. He had been consistently asking the BJP government to have talks with Pakistan.
However, former BJP leader Hari Om, who was expelled from the party for criticising BJP-PDP alliance, termed the talks as “betrayal” to the national. He said, “The Modi government is playing with fire. It’s hurting the nationalist forces and undermining the territorial integrity. The government, by allowing NSA talks in a third country, has accorded a dangerous legitimacy to the terror tactics Pakistan,” he said.
“It has betrayed the nation by going back on its Ufa (Russia) commitment that talks and terror cannot go hand-in-hand. This government has been handling Pakistan in a most irresponsible manner and keeping the nation in complete dark,” he said.
The CPM has though hoped that the two countries will make dialogue process uninterruptible.
“The dialogue process should remain uninterrupted. The two nations should decide that it’s the time to change the narrative and the mindset and to start investing in friendship, trust-building and serious mature relations than investing in hostility and animosity,” he added.