Engaging Stakeholders In Kashmir Vital For Conclusive Dialogue, Says Sajad Lone

8 May 2015
The Hindustan Times
Peerzada Ashiq

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir cabinet minister and Peoples Conference (PC) chairman Sajad Lone on Friday stressed the need to engage all stakeholders for ac fruitful dialogue to address Kashmir's political problem. Speaking at a seminar titled 'Kashmir -A way forward', organised by the Haryana-based OP Jindal University, separatist-turned mainstream leader Lone said, 'Focus on (Kashmir) resolution is important as it's linked to our aspirations, but economic freedom is prerequisite for political freedom'. Minister for science, technology and animal husbandry, Lone said the engagement was important in J&K. 'Dialogue not for the sake of dialogue but a conclusive one,' he added. Lone's statement on dialogue assumes significance given his proximity with the BJP, which has not shown any interest to start a political dialogue with separatists in Kashmir. Lone shot to limelight last year when he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of assembly polls in the state. Lone, who contested assembly polls for the first time in the state, said, 'Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed economical disempowerment over a period of time. He added, 'Only economically well-of people can do free politics where one can take a rational decision'. He expressed concern over the negative trade- off between development and ideology in J&K. 'We need to think if development can make ideology more rational and practical,' he said. Son of assassinated separatist leader and senior Hurriyat member Abdul Ghani Lone, the junior Lone said people's definitionsof sovereignty in Kashmir was very absolute. 'But definitions have changed, so has definition of independence. People need to shun polemics and ornamentalism,' he said. 'Things that are relevant now may not be relevant later,' he said. Lone said huge swathes of Kashmir face hard day-to-day affairs. 'People inhabit this place. We are at the bottom of the pile. There is also a dimension of Kashmir problem which is poverty,' said Lone. 'Those whose continue to face travails of everyday life can't come up with a solution,' he said.