'Dialogue only way forward': J-K parties welcome India-Pakistan agreement on ceasefire along LoC

SRINAGAR: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday asked the Centre not to shy away from engaging with the people of Jammu and Kashmir and take a considerate view of their wishes and aspirations.

“New Delhi should not shy away from engaging with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. I urge the government of India to take a considerate view of rights and aspirations of the people,” Mehbooba said at a party convention in Anantnag district.

The former chief minister reiterated that the road to peace in the subcontinent traverses through Kashmir, and dialogue and reconciliation are the only meaningful mechanisms to resolve the impending issues and catapult the region out of a vortex of misery and uncertainty.

“Many people are ill at ease when I advocate the restoration of our constitutional rights and speak for the resumption of the dialogue process. But since when has articulating legitimate demands of our people and seeking resolution for peace become a crime? If not the government of India, who else do the people of Jammu and Kashmir turn to,” Mufti asked.

Underlining the changing geopolitical scenario, Mehbooba expressed hope that the government will seize the opportunity awarded by the impending SAARC summit that is likely to provide a window of opportunity to pick up the threads of dialogue and peace process between India and Pakistan.

“Geopolitically, a lot has happened over the last couple of months. The country is meaningfully engaging with China and steps have been taken to strengthen the ceasefire mechanism with Pakistan,” she said.

“The SAARC summit could soon convene in Pakistan and I hope that the prime minister (Narendra Modi) participates in it. It could be the opportunity to revitalise the ties (between India and Pakistan) and jumpstart the peace process through dialogue. That is what the people of Jammu and Kashmir are yearning for,” Mufti said.