Don't put preconditions for J&K talks: Mehbooba
13 August 2004
The Hindustan Times
Press Trust of India
Jammu: Peoples' Democratic Party Chief Mehbooba Mufti has warned the Centre that putting pre-conditions for talks with Kashmiri groups would hamper the peace process in Jammu and Kashmir. 'If dialogue is held with Pakistan without any conditions, why conditions have been imposed on Kashmiris for initiating the ongoing talks,' she said addressing public meetings at Badhoori and Vijaypur in Jammu on Thursday. 'This would spoil the conducive atmosphere and the situation will return where it was two years back,' she said. Urging the Central Government to adopt a 'humane' approach towards the Kashmir problem, Mufti said parties need to desist from vote bank politics in order to solve the vexed issue. 'Jammu and Kashmir is a state with special status and different parameters are required to solve this problem and the Centre should keep political considerations aside and tackle the issue in a humane manner,' she said. Mufti said that there is need to take concrete steps to solve the problem and 'the vote bank politics and other political considerations need to be kept aside'. Giving credit to the PDP-led coalition Government in the state for 'softening' relations between India and Pakistan, she said 'the way things are moving the issue would be definitely solved.' 'The peace initiatives of the coalition government are yielding positive dividends and even separatists have realised the futility of the gun,' Mufti, who is also a sitting MP, said referring to the influx of pilgrims and tourists in the state.