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JEHANGIR ALI | 6 DECEMBER, 2015

Kashmir Remains On A India-Pak Seesaw


SRINAGAR: The proposed Pakistan visit by external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, has raised hopes in Jammu and Kashmir of rekindling the stalled dialogue process between India and Pakistan.

Terming the external affairs minister's visit as a "good beginning", the Hurriyat Conference said the dialogue is the only way forward to resolve the Kashmir issue which will bring peace and prosperity to the region.

"It is a good beginning," Shahid-ul-Islam, the political advisor to moderate Hurriyat chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said, "Somewhere, the two countries have to sit and talk. We take the visit of Sushma Swaraj to Pakistan in a positive sense and hope that India will seriously start deliberations with Pakistan to resolve Kashmir issue."

Ayaz Akbar, the spokesperson of Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani, however, said the talks between India and Pakistan over the last 68 years have "never been result-oriented".

"No country can live not in isolation but over the last 68 years, the dialogues between the two countries have never been productive. We don't oppose dialogue but unless India and Pakistan accept Kashmir as the core issue, the political uncertainty will continue to haunt the region,"

Former J&K Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah Saturday said the visit must lead to resumption of dialogue process and resolution of all outstanding issues between the two countries.

"We hope this visit will improve the relations and carry forward the dialogue process so that all issues between them can be resolved," Dr Abdullah told reporters after paying tributes to his father and National Conference founder, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, on his 110th birth anniversary.

Welcoming the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Paris last week, Dr Abdullah reiterated his earlier remarks that neither India nor Pakistan could annexe the territory of Jammu and Kashmir in each other's control, "We do not know what they talked about but let us hope that they find some way of resolving this issue of J&K," he said.

Dr Farooq's son, Omar Abdullah, also welcomed the visit of Swaraj to Pakistan, saying that it will help reduce tensions between the two countries. "It is a good thing that Sushma Swaraj is going to Pakistan. Although this is not a bilateral visit... However, External Affairs Minister's visit to Pakistan is not a small issue, especially in conditions where there is tension between the two countries. Even if the visit is happening due to Afghanistan, we will be hopeful that the bilateral dialogue is also resumed," Omar said.

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