Modi-Sharif meet: Mainstream parties say welcome, separatists disappointed

  • Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Jul 10, 2015 23:19 IST
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif ahead of bilateral talks in Russia's Ufa on Friday. (Photo: PIB)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on Friday received mixed reactions in Jammu and Kashmir, which has been a bone of contention between the two countries for more than six decades.

Both factions of the separatist alliance Hurriyat Conference dismissed the joint statement issued by the two countries after the meeting, which skipped any mention about the Kashmir issue, as a "diplomatic compulsion".

"We were not expecting much from the meeting anyway. There is no breakthrough as far as we are concerned. It's just a diplomatic concern,'' said Ayaz Akbar, the spokesman of the hardline Hurriyat faction led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

"Our stand is clear; they (India, Pakistan) should both concentrate on the core issue and resolve Kashmir. Till Kashmir issue is addressed, such talks will be futile. They will be disappointing," he said.

Akbar said "there is nothing new" in the meeting between Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers and that such meetings were not "result-oriented."

However, Valley's chief cleric and chairman of Hurriyat's moderate faction, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said the meeting of the two leaders per se was a welcome move.

"We welcome the step and hope the two countries will take the diplomatic ties forward and not lose out on what could be a golden opportunity for the resolution of Kashmir," Mirwaiz told a large gathering of worshippers at Jamia Masjid in Srinagar.

The cleric, however, said resolution of the Kashmir issue was primary to pave way for the two countries to address other issues as well.

"Issues like 26/11, Sir Creek, Siachen, terrorism, and Samjhauta Express are not significant, because Kashmir is the reason both neigbours were forced to acquire a nuclear arsenal," a statement issued by the moderate Hurriyat leader said.

JKLF chairman Mohammad Yaseen Malik termed the process "futile" and said the joint statement had disappointed the people of Kashmir.

"Issues and conflicts can only be resolved through dialogue. But the way this process has been turned futile and non-serious in case of Jammu and Kashmir has created doubts in the minds of common people and the people of the state have lost faith in this institution.

"The joint declaration issued after the meeting has disappointed Kashmiris," he said.

Former parliamentarian and chief spokesperson of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP), Mehboob Beg, said, "The meeting vindicates PDP's constant and unflinching stand that talks and talks alone could benefit the two nations as well as the people of Jammu and Kashmir,"

Beg asked both India and Pakistan to build a peaceful and friendly atmosphere based on the four-point formula proposed by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said Friday's meeting will have a positive impact on the people of the state who "suffer the most when relations between India and Pakistan turn hostile."

Former chief minister Omar Abdullah sounded cautiously optimistic about the bilateral talks, dubbing it "a good first step".

The state Congress also welcomed the step but said the outcome fell short of expectations. "There were expectations that talks would lead to a major breakthrough and would be result-oriented, but nothing concrete seems to have happened," said state party chief, GA Mir.


Former chief minister Omar Abdullah took to Twitter to share his views on the Modi-Sharif meet.

"Resumption of the Indo-Pak dialogue is a welcome development. I only hope that this time it is sustained over the long term for results"

"We've seen too many breaks in this process to allow today's announcements to excite us much here in the Valley but it's a good 1st step"

"We expect that in spite of Pakistan not mentioning Kashmir at all that the issue of Kashmir will receive its due attention going ahead"

"And a little less chest thumping from spokespersons claiming victory because that's a sure shot way to derail the entire process."

I see a ray of hope: Mufti Mohammad Sayeed

Welcoming the revival of the stalled dialogue process between India and Pakistan, chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Friday said the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif had marked a "new beginning" when the region was going through a crucial phase.

"We see a ray of hope in the fresh initiative," the chief minister said in a statement, "and hope that it would turn out to be a defining moment in the Indo-Pak ties."

He expressed hope that the new initiative would lead to sustained and uninterrupted dialogue, which would realise peace and stability in the region.

"Such a peaceful atmosphere would allow the people of Jammu and Kashmir to fully reap the benefits of the democratic system in which they have repeatedly invested their faith without adequate response so far in terms of solving their problems," Sayeed said.

"Jammu and Kashmir has borne the brunt of wars, militancy and a destabilized political situation as a result of the conflict between the two countries, and it is a good omen that a fresh beginning has been made at a crucial stage of the region's history," he added.

Sayeed added that his government would be looking forward not only to stabilisation of borders in the state but also revival and expansion of the JK-specific Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), which are presently in limbo.

He said the vision of a peaceful and prosperous South Asia will receive a boost with the concrete measures especially with regard to the cross-LoC travel and trade.

He also hailed PM Narendra Modi's positive response to Nawaz Sharif's invite to visit Pakistan.

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