Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said neither India nor Pakistan are in a position to fight a war. She urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to re-open talks between the two neighbours. She also appealed to Kashmiri Pandits who fled the Valley to return to their roots.
Mufti's appeal to PM Modi mirrors similar statements made by her political opponent, National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah. She raised the example of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee's bid to move forward with talks with Pakistan to press her case.
"I urge Prime Minister Modi to talk to Pakistan, just like Vajpayee ji did. Neither we nor Pakistan are in a condition of fighting a war. Both countries know if there will be a war, nothing will be spared. Both nations will lose everything," said Mufti, news agency ANI reported.
The reference to Vajpayee was his repeated bid to stabilise relations with Pakistan during the Musharraf era, despite the Kargil conflict. The bids had failed, with Pakistan's military-political establishment returning to the pattern of violent attacks to go hand in hand with peace efforts.
Mufti also urged Kashmiri Pandits, who fled Kashmir to escape violence during the militancy of the 1990s to return to the Valley. "Kashmiri Pandits should visit Kashmir. Their younger generations should see where their roots belong to. We will make all arrangements. Whatever has happened in the past is unfortunate, but now we will have to move forward," she said.
Efforts made by the Jammu and Kashmir government to relocate Kashmiri Pandits in the region have failed to take flight. They have either not been able to attract members of the community, many of whom live in refugee-camp-like conditions, or have faced criticism of trying to ghettoise them in select areas.
(With inputs from ANI)