The Hurriyat leaders may have been the spoilers as far as India-Pakistan talks are concerned but the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in J&K hopes that the state government will initiate a dialogue with the separatists “sooner rather than later”.
“Certainly, if not today, then definitely tomorrow. We need to start a dialogue process with separatists and other stakeholders to establish permanent peace,” PDP chief spokesman Mehboob Beg said. “You don’t shut your doors on those who are in disagreement with you… You engage with them… It has to be done,” he added.
The PDP’s coalition partner, the BJP, too is not against any sort of engagement with the separatists but within the ambit of the Indian Constitution.
“They (separatists) are our own people and our doors are open for anyone who is willing to talk within the four walls of the Indian Constitution,” J&K BJP spokesman Khalid Jehangir said.
Both the parties maintained that they stood committed to following, in “letter and spirit”, the coalition government’s agenda of the alliance that was drafted following the power-sharing agreement between the PDP and the BJP in March this year.
“The coalition government will facilitate and help initiate a sustained and meaningful dialogue with all internal stakeholders, which will include all political groups irrespective of their ideological views and predilections. This dialogue will seek to build a broad based consensus on resolution of all outstanding issues of J&K,” the document said.
The two parties also recalled the dialogue process initiated by the previous NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, with all political groups in the spirit of “Insaaniyat, Kashmiriyat and Jamhooriyat”.
The BJP spokesman hoped that the separatist leaders would soon realise the “benefits of Indian democracy and join” the mainstream. “Look at Sajjad Lone, he was a separatist once and today is a minister in J&K. Others too might follow suit,” he said.