Srinagar: Both ruling National Conference (NC) and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir today criticised the Centre for calling off the Foreign Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan.
While NC termed the move as “a matter of misfortune for prospects of peace between India and Pakistan”, PDP said “the alibi given out for calling off the Foreign Secretary-level talks is patently fake as the Hurriyat leaders have always been meeting Pakistani diplomats on different occasions”.
“It is a matter of misfortune for prospects of peace between India and Pakistan and also particularly for the people of Jammu and Kashmir…,” NC president Farooq Abdullah said in a statement here.
Abdullah said NC has been a strong votary of sustained engagement between New Delhi and Islamabad to resolve all outstanding issues between the two neighbours and has also consistently advocated for political resolution of the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
He said meetings between Huriryat leaders and Pakistan’s diplomatic delegations have taken place at regular intervals in the past too, and added that it “should not have become an issue resulting in the cancellation of the high-level talks”.
“Engaging in talks and allowing a multi-spectrum engagement to resolve political issues exhibits strength and confidence, not weakness,” he said.
Abdullah said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s gesture of inviting the Prime Minister of Pakistan, along with premiers of other SAARC countries, to his swearing-in ceremony was a significant indication of movement towards diplomatic engagement and greater cooperation in the region.
“We hope that the same spirit of cooperation is institutionalised by all SAARC member-States in their relationships with each other, more particularly the bilateral ties between New Delhi and Islamabad,” he added.
Abdullah said the people of Jammu and Kashmir were both the biggest sufferers of animosity and hostility between India and Pakistan and also conversely the biggest beneficiaries of sustained peace and cooperation between them, and appealed for resumption of the dialogue process at the earliest.