Mehbooba advocates Pakistan-India dialogue: CGTN


BEIJING, Feb 13 (APP):Hardliner ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition partner and Indian-held Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said bilateral talks with Pakistan were vital.
Her stance is being viewed as a bold step, which she expressed in the wake of a recent attack on an army base in held Kashmir that killed nine, including five soldiers and a civilian.
“Dialogue with Pakistan is necessary if we are to end the bloodshed,” Mufti tweeted on Monday, adding that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are suffering.
“We have to talk because war is not an option,” she said while also taking a dig at Indian media. “I know I will be labelled anti-national by news anchors tonight, but that doesn’t matter.”
The chief minister has a political agenda to bring the state and the center closer as well as to promote dialogue between India and Pakistan, her party spokesman Waheed Para told China Global Television Network (CGTN) Digital on Tuesday.
She has always been saying the war is not an option, he added.
Para said that when Mufti mentions dialogue, she refers to a more extensive debate that is not limited to peace but also trade talks, as the people in the state are the worst victims of the conflict.
She raised the similar issue earlier in the day in Jammu and Kashmir state assembly, saying the war with Pakistan is not an option, but dialogue. “If we don’t talk about talks with Pakistan, then who will? People from Bihar won’t!” she said.
She referred to former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s visit to Pakistan in 1999 that many praised as a peace initiative, saying, she wonders what some media outlets would have called him in today’s times for a similar gesture. Vajpayee travelled to Pakistan on the Delhi-Lahore bus.
“She might want to invoke the history of past reconciliation efforts with Pakistan,” Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain, an academician at the Central University of Kashmir told CGTN Digital.
There is resentment against Mufti in the state because of her ties with the BJP and by issuing such a statement, she is addressing issues in her constituency, he said, adding that she might also be trying to build up pressure on her coalition partner.
As Mufti expected, she quickly drew criticism for her idea of dialogue with Pakistan from some people on Twitter as well as in the media.
An anchor from the Indian TV channel Times Now called her comment a “shocker.”
She has pulled down the marker as far as India’s relation with Pakistan is concerned, the anchor said.
Indian columnist Tavleen Singh took to Twitter to reject Mufti’s proposal. It might be time for Mehbooba Mufti talk a bit more to Kashmiris instead.”
Mehbooba Mufti is taking Kashmir back to the brink, wrote a Twitter user.
Mufti, whose People’s Democratic Party is ruling the state in alliance with the BJP, is not alone in advocating peace with Pakistan.
Indian Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyer, who is attending Karachi Literature Festival in Pakistan, praised Islamabad for what he said its approach of attempting to resolve the outstanding issues with India via negotiation and dialogue.
India, however, is not reciprocating, he said. “There is only one way of resolving India-Pakistan issues and that is by uninterrupted and uninterruptible dialogue,” he added.