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PDP woos terrorists to join politics

india Updated: Jan 29, 2007 15:03 IST
Arun Joshi

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir is sending strong signals to terrorists to join politics and has supplemented this offer with a firm indication that the party would concede political space to them in the electoral battles.

The party leadership has made it clear that it wanted to change the discourse of Kashmir politics for terrorists by offering a stake to them in the politics of ballots, and declared that the infamous 1987 elections would not be repeated.

First step was taken by PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, who in her decade-long political career has seen many ups and downs in politics, when she declared that she and her party would "welcome" the participation of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference and, misguided youth into politics.

"For us in the PDP, the concern is not power, but how we can resolve the issue. If separatists join politics, PDP would not measure its strength in electoral victories or losses," she said in an interaction with media. "Our primary concern is dialogue and peace."

She went on to remind the first slogan of the PDP: Goli nahin, Boli - (solution not through bullets, but through talks). "This was our mantra to bring everyone, including terrorists on board and wanted guns from all sides to fall silent."

"Our stand remains the same today as well," Mehbooba said. "We never favoured a military solution."

She said, "PDP wants to be a party of the mass and speak for their aspirations. Even if terrorists or separatists join politics we will continue playing our role the way we are. It is immaterial whether we are in the government or out of it."

Her party's leading face in the government — Finance and Planning Minister Tariq Hameed Karra — packaged the party's offer while speaking at the Republic Day function in the north Kashmir town Baramullah.

"I urge the local terrorists to ponder over what has the gun given to us except death, destruction and miseries," he said.

"The violence has burdened the state with a huge population of orphans, widows and destitute giving rise to various social issues," he observed. He appealed to militants: "instead of adding to their numbers by continuing the violence, the gun wielding boys should now channelise their energies towards the rehabilitation of the sufferers of violence."

Karra said, PDP stands for shifting the terrorists from causing three kinds of doom: Death, Destruction and Devastation to contributing in three Rs: Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction.

"We are more interested in Kashmir solution, rather than the game of winning seats alone," he said. 

Email Arun Joshi: a_joshi957@rediffmail.com

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