March 2003 News

Kashmir issue, a challenge to the entire nation: Mufti Saeed

7 March 2003
News Network International

SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said that the challenge in dealing with the situation in the state had to be faced by the entire nation and that the appointment of N.N. Vohra for talks was an opportunity which should not be lost. With a complete boycott by the opposition National Conference, Sayeed said that 'nobody can reject the offer for talks'. 'This is an opportunity which should not be lost', he said in reaction to the National Conference's argument that the level of dialogue had been degraded with the appointment of Vohra, IRNA said. Later the chief minister told journalists that Vohra would be coming again and talk to all people. The Mufti called for adopting a joint strategy for making the dialogue a success. Referring to Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam's assertion in his address that rail link to Kashmir would be established by August 2007, he said, 'It is not a mere promise but a pledge on behalf of the whole nation.' Kashmir is a challenge and the whole nation has to face it, he said, adding, 'I am confident we have the strength to face it and I have full faith in the central government.' The People's Democratic Forum (PDF) leader, M.Y. Tarigami, in his address urged the Indian government to take the people of the Kashmir state into confidence. 'It is the will of the political establishment of Delhi which matters', he said adding 'dialogue is the only way out for resolving the problems in Kashmir'. Even as Hurriyat Conference, the main separatist alliance of Jammu and Kashmir, is yet to take a decision whether or not to enter into talks with the center's newly-appointed interlocutor N N Vohra, President of Awami National Conference G M Shah has termed his appointment as an 'unfortunate and futile' exercise. 'Hurriyat Conference will take a decision soon on the question of entering into a dialogue with the newly appointed government interlocutor even though no formal invitation has been received,' its Chairman A G Bhat said on Thursday. Bhat said the Kashmir issue could be resolved only through meaningful and result-oriented talks. In its efforts to carry forward its policy of healing touch, the Joint Screening Committee set up by the People's Democratic Party-led coalition government for releasing detainees, has short-listed 24 such persons and a decision on their release is expected in the next meeting scheduled for March 27. Most of the cases pertain to those who had either completed their term under the Public Safety Act or had no serious charges against them.


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