Boycott of meet by separatists unwise: Azad

The CM said that the boycott by separatist was unwise but will have no impact on the relations between India and Pakistan.

india Updated: May 24, 2006 12:37 IST

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has said that boycott of Wednesday's roundtable conference on the Kashmir issue by separatist organisations was unwise but will have no impact on the relations between India and Pakistan.

"Our relations with Pakistan will continue and trade through the Jhelum valley road from July this year will be resumed," Mr Azad said during an interview.

He said trade and commerce activities between two parts of Kashmir and with Pakistan were also in the offering.

Yet another travelling route of Poonch-Rawalkote was to be opened shortly to facilitate the people across Line of Control (LoC) for people-to-people interactions.

Azad ruled out any exclusive meeting between the Prime Minister and Hurriyat leaders on the sidelines of the conference. The moderate Hurriyat Conference (HC), after rejecting the offer, had said it was ready to hold talks with the Prime Minister separately.

Azad said there was no justification for any separatist leader or organisation to say no to the conference as Central government crossed all limits and did not confine the dialogue to a limited circle.

He said it was unfortunate that when India was ready to listen to these leaders and discussed ways how to find a durable peace in the state, these leaders rejected the talks offer.

"How can the Kashmir issue be resolved if we did not have talks?" he said adding, "no solution will come from the sky and we all have to hammer out the solution."

He said the boycott of the roundtable conference by HC was an unwise act.

He said the Kashmir issue did not concern a particular individual or group but was the issue of whole country and all political parties.

Mr Azad said the conference is the appropriate forum to resolve all complex problems and escape of separatists from the conference had exposed them completely before people who were now asking what exactly these groups stood for.

The chief minister said it was most unfortunate that a sincere opportunity provided by Prime Minister in the form of Round-Table conference has been missed by the groups who pretended to be people' s friends and champions.

Mr Azad said, "Unless we jointly address the issue and come up with a concrete proposal, how is it possible to relieve the people from the perpetuating agonies, miseries and traumas during the last 58 years for petty politicking?"

The chief minister said thousands of people had lost their lives and sustained grievous injuries, women had become widows and destitute, children turned orphans, public and private property got turned into rubble and the atmosphere of Kashmir, instead of echoing songs of youth, was vibrating with shrieks, sorrows and sobs of men, women and children.

He said the sincerity of holding roundtable conference and resolving the issue amicably had been misread by the groups outside the mainstream who resorted to be away from the conference, an opportunity that came their way after a long time.

He said missing such a historical platform to put forth their viewpoint freely and fairly in a conducive atmosphere across the table was most unfortunate.

First Published: May 24, 2006 12:33 IST