Srinagar: Days after Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik said that separatists in Kashmir are ready for talks, Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that ‘dialogue’ is the only way to resolve the Kashmir problem.
Speaking exclusively to News18 in Srinagar, the 46-year-old moderate separatist leader, who is also the head cleric of Kashmir, reiterated his stand for talks.
“We have always been in favour of talks as the means of resolution. We have not said anything new,” he told News18, adding, “Kashmiris being the most affected party for the past 72 years naturally want its resolution.”
Farooq said that talks between stakeholders can bring peace and termed the use of force a meaningless exercise.
“We have maintained and reiterated that engagement and dialogue, and not force, among stakeholders is the best and the most peaceful means of resolution of Kashmir issue. We have engaged with both India and Pakistan in the past,” he said.
About the increasing militancy, the rise in militant operations and the surging civilian and forces fatalities, he said: “As the most affected party with daily killings of our young we would naturally want the resolution of the issue.”
Mirwaiz has been constantly insisting on talks from nearly a month. The developments come after the overwhelming win of Narendra Modi-led NDA government. At the same time, most separatist leaders, including JKLF chief and top separatist leader Yasin Malik, have been jailed. The separatist organisation he leads has also been banned.
From the last five years, there has been a steep increase in the military operations in Kashmir. The year 2018 witnessed the highest number of casualties in the last one decade. The number of local recruits in the militancy is also not declining.
Mirwaiz believes that military operations are not going to help bring peace in the Valley. “I believe that this issue cannot be resolved by militarily or through confrontation but by dialogue and deliberations,” he said.
He also hailed the prime minister of Pakistan for his dialogue offers to India.
“Pakistani PM Imran Khan’s often repeated offer of dialogue on all issues between India and Pakistan, including on the Kashmir issue, should also be seriously considered as the way forward,” he said.
The newly-elected Home minister, Amit Shah, is going to visit Kashmir on June 30. It will be his first visit to the Valley after taking oath as the minister.