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Interlocutor’s appointment a serious effort by PM Modi, says J&K minister

Minister for public works, Naeem Akhtar said the appointment of Dineshwar Sharma as the special representative reflected what the PM had said on Independence day.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2017 12:34 IST
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Hindustan Times, Jammu
Naeem Akhtar,Jammu and Kashmir,Dineshwar Sharma
Jammu and Kashmir public works minister Naeem Akhtar welcomed the Centre’s move to appoint a special representative for talks with stakeholders in the restive state.(ANI)

A Jammu and Kashmir minister on Monday welcomed the Centre’s move to appoint a special representative for talks with stakeholders in the restive state, saying it was a serious exercise by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Minister for public works, Naeem Akhtar said the appointment of former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as the special representative reflected what the PM had said on Independence day.

“PM had said that ‘Na goli se, na gaali se, baat banegi gale lagane se’ (Issues cannot be resolved by bullets or abuses, but by hugs) and Sharma’s appointment was aimed at resolving the basic issue,” Akhtar told reporters at the opening of Darbar Move — moving of offices of the state government from Srinagar to Jammu due to winter for six months.

Sharma will be in Srinagar on Monday to start sustained dialogues with various stakeholders to resolve issues in the insurgency-affected state.

When asked if the Hurriyat’s refusal to engage with Sharma was a setback, Akhtar, a veteran PDP leader, said “that is why talks are held. If there have been no issues, then need for talks would not have arisen”.

Akhtar, who is also the official spokesman of the PDP-BJP government, asked the media not to jump the gun before the talks get started.

“It is a time consuming process,” he added, advising the media to afford sufficient time.

When asked about Pakistan PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s reported rejection of the idea of an independent Kashmir, much to the chagrin of Hurriyat, Akhtar cautiously responded that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India, but has some issues that need resolution.

“(There is) no need to be worried. Pakistan says something, Hurriyat something else, and we have a stated position (on Kashmir),” he said.

On whether the PDP would ask Sharma for more autonomy for the state, Akhtar cited “agenda of alliance” document wherein he claimed all such issues have been discussed.

Following a fractured mandate in November 2014 assembly polls, the PDP and BJP had come out with an agenda of alliance document, which has apparently put all contentious issues on the backburner and is considered a sketchy and vague by the opposition, especially National Conference.

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti inspects a guard of honour on the first day of the re-opening of the civil secretariat following the annual 'Darbar Move' in Jammu on Monday. (PTI)

The PDP-BJP government had issued the document and formed the government to “respect the mandate of the people and for providing good governance”.

Earlier, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti inspected the customary guard of honour and exchanged pleasantries with her ministers, bureaucrats and media persons.

She, however, didn’t hold any press conference, which has become a tradition over the years when the seat of power reopens in the winter capital here.

First Published: Nov 06, 2017 12:34 IST