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Dialogue only way to solve Kashmir issue: Mehbooba Mufti


Jammu, Feb 20: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti said that dialogue is the only way to solve Kashmir issue and save the people of Kashmir. She said, “In these times only illiterate people can talk about war.
Both countries are nuclear powers and when they have the option of dialogue to solve the issue, I don’t think the question of war arises and when there’s no war there’s no question of retaliation.”
Mehbooba Mufti said that the proof of Pakistani links to the Pulwama attack should be given to Islamabad as sought by its Prime Minister Imran Khan “to see what they do”.
Speaking to the media here, she said: “It is true that whether it was Pathankot attack or Mumbai attack they (Pakistan) were given proof but they did not take action. But because Imran Khan is a new PM and he is talking about a new start, he should be given a chance. We should give proof and see what they do.”
Hitting out at the government’s move to withdraw the security of separatist leaders, Mehbooba called it a ‘childish act’.
“This is a childish act. The government should find a solution to this problem. Withdrawing the security of four people is no big deal and that too which they had not asked for. The government had given them the security and has now itself taken it away,” she added.
The Jammu and Kashmir government withdrew security of separatist leaders, including All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, on February 17 in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack. Other leaders whose security has been withdrawn include Shabir Shah, Abdul Ghani Bhat and Bilal Lone.
Moreover, the PDP leader also claimed that Pakistan itself has many problems and in such a situation a dialogue between the two countries will be beneficial for both sides. While saying that talks will be good for Pakistan, she emphasised: “It will be good for Pakistan’s prosperity.”
“Pakistan itself has a lot of problems, in such a situation if both the nations reconcile and discuss things it will be beneficial for both sides. I believe that we can have a dialogue even after a war. If we have to save Jammu and Kashmir and its people then dialogue is the only way. War is not a solution to any problem,” the PDP leader added.
Elaborating further she said if Pakistan is influencing the youth of Kashmir it is unfortunate and is a reflection of our failure.
“It is unfortunate if we say that the neighbouring country is able to enter our country and indoctrinate our youth. It is possible that there may have been some shortcoming on our part, our previous government’s part. There has to be a reason as to why our youth gets influenced by those people. It is possible that they don’t feel a part of us,” Mufti added.
On the issue of Article 370 of the Constitution, she asserted: “If that is removed then no one in Kashmir will have a reason to hold the Indian tricolour.”
Substantiating her stance she recalled the conditions of alliance with the BJP in Kashmir. She claimed that it was decided that the government will hold talks with the separatists and with Pakistan.
“Our agenda of alliance with the BJP was very clear that they will initiate talks with Pakistan and the separatists in Kashmir like Vajpayee did. This is no secret. I don’t know why are they sosurprised today,” she said.