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Kashmir crying for peace

On the eve of Indo-Pak Foreign Ministers level talks, Kashmir is crying to give peace a chance, reports Arun Joshi.

india Updated: Jan 12, 2007 16:38 IST
Arun Joshi
Arun Joshi

On the eve of Indo-Pak Foreign Ministers level talks, Kashmir is crying to give peace a chance. There is no traditional shutdown call from any of the separatist groups for Saturday when External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee lands in Pakistan- a clear deviation from the past.

The fact that there is no shutdown call this time is reflective of the changing mood of the people of Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir has suffered the most in the past 59 years and experienced the worst of Pakistan sponsored terrorism. Violence has claimed more than 50,000 lives.

Everytime when there are Indo-Pak talks, Jammu and Kashmir always sees itself at a position where things are so near, yet so far. This time it is no different. There is hope that Pranab's visit would strengthen the peace process.

"This visit can turn out to be a milestone, provided the urge for peace is reflected in words and actions," commented Jammu University Vice Chancellor and international affairs expert Amitabh Mattoo.

It is time for all to realise that the guns yielded nothing. The rise in violence helped neither the terrorists nor their mentors.

Moreover, violence has affected the Rs 1000 crore tourism industry in the Valley.

Even former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, a known Pakistan critic has shed his rhetoric and wants to "befriend Pakistan".

"Our fate lies in peace in the region and dialogue is the only way out of this blind tunnel that has kept us hostage to backwardness and violence for so long," said Abdullah.

In the past, his familiar line used to be "Indo-Pak peace is welcome but don't build it on the bodies of the people of Jammu and Kashmir."

His changed attitude is a reflection of the changed times.

Former CM Mufti Sayeed too agrees that Pakistan has reigned in terrorism.

Now, separatists have also grasped writing on the wall. The rhetoric of 'self determination' is giving way to the demand for peace talks. The moderate faction of the Hurriat Conference stresses on the success of the peace process and is determined to go all out before drawing a conclusion.

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