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I am here to show solidarity: Mehbooba

"I am here to show solidarity with the people of Pakistan at this dark hour,” Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti declared in Pakistani capital Islamabad Thursday, two days after attack on the Sri Lanjkan cricket team.

world Updated: Mar 11, 2009 14:52 IST
Arun Joshi

"I am here to show solidarity with the people of Pakistan at this dark hour,” Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti declared in Pakistani capital Islamabad Thursday, two days after attack on the Sri Lanjkan cricket team.

PDP chief who was warned against traveling to Pakistan after the attack on the cricket team in Lahore on Tuesday, she landed in Islamabad on Wednesday evening, to attend Pugwash conference based on the theme of restarting indo-Pak dialogue , which got stalled after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack in which 170 people were killed . Part of the conspiracy , Pakistan has admitted was planned on its soil.

She said that she was cautioned by some quarters about her visit at this point , but she “chose to come to Pakistan to show solidarity with its people at this dark hour.

“We in Kashmir have been victims of violence and understand the pain that it causes anywhere.”, she said referring to the bloodbath and violence that has been going on in the Valley since 1990 and which has claimed more than 40,000 lives and severely curtailed the movement of the people.

In her speech , she said that all that has happened is unfortunate but the challenge and the opportunity at the moment is to restart the Indo-Pak dialogue, an imperative for the resolution of Kashmir crisis.

The re-unification of Jammu and Kashmir, she underlined was the “ultimate dream “of the people of the state, who have suffered because of the high tensions and artificial barriers, a reference to the Line of Control.

Mehbooba said that she was cautioned against traveling to Pakistan after the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, but she chose to visit Islamabad to show her solidarity with the people. She is likely to meet Pakistani leaders there. Last year, while attending Pugwash conferenxce , she had met Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharief and other leaders in Islamabad and Lahore.

Mehbooba Mufti said the post-election scenario in Jammu & Kashmir has created an enabling environment for the peaceful and amicable settlement of the Kashmir issue.

She said the new situation in the State is an opportunity as well as a challenge for India and Pakistan.

“A challenge far more serious than the one that violence had posed,” she said and added that it seeks a response and an immediate answer to the question; what next?

Mehbooba said the stage is set in Jammu & Kashmir for a resolution of its problems as never before.