Apprehensive of Pakistan dragging its feet on Kashmir, separatist the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) on Sunday called upon moderate and hardliner separatists to engage with Islamabad in a straight talk "to clarify its stand on dialogue and Kashmir issue".
"It's the people of Kashmir who through their sacrifices create a crisis situation for India to engage Pakistan in a dialogue, but when the two countries sit across the table, they discuss trade and Kashmir gets a passing reference. Why?"asked JKLF chairman Yasin Malik in a rare tirade against Pakistan at a seminar organised to commemorate the death anniversary of JKLF ideologue Prof Abdul Ahad Wani in Srinagar.
Referring to recent rounds of the Indo-Pak dialogue initiatives, Malik expressed his annoyance over "Kashmir being brushed under the carpet". "Time has come for the leadership in Kashmir to engage with Islamabad directly to understand what's up their sleeves. The fact that we will be informed about the initiatives through radio bulletins is not acceptable to us,"said Malik.
He called upon pro-Pakistan separatist groups like hardliner Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Jamaat-e-Islami, whose representatives were present during the seminar, "to put pressure on Pakistan to spell out its line of action and stand on dialogue process and Kashmir issue".
"It is more incumbent upon pro-Pakistan groups to ask Islamabad why Kashmir is not a top priority in the Indo-Pak dialogue process. Why Kashmir is mentioned at the tail end of a statement and even vanishes sometimes,"questioned Malik.
"How long people of Kashmir will suffer? Is it that the countries have developed their own interest in keeping the issue alive for 65 years at a huge cost of human lives paid only by people of Kashmir?"he asked.
Malik claimed: "According to a study, 95% of the population in Kashmir suffers from depression and various other crimes are on the rise as an outcome of the conflict."
After the Nawaz Sharif-led government took over in Islamabad, Pakistan and India held several rounds of talks mainly focused on trade and confidence building measures, which had made JKLF and other separatist organisations unhappy in Srinagar.
A number of speakers expressed their annoyance at the seminar on the theme "Kashmir being sidelined in the dialogue process". Many hardliner separatists, eminent writers and lawyers participated in the seminar.
In a rare resolution, passed after a daylong seminar, separatists and civil society members asked Pakistan to "make Kashmir centre of the dialogue process and include representatives of people in any dialogue process".
"I admit the fact that our talks with India failed to yield any result. We have to review the Srinagar-Delhi dialogue process, as we have failed to achieve anything. However, we need to engage Pakistan before that,"said Malik.
Meanwhile, the JKLF chairman claimed that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which formed a government in Delhi, was "no different from other political parties".
"Such parties have no scope in Kashmir. There were activists from the same party who gherao our members and stopped them from addressing the press in Delhi this year,"alleged Malik.