Kashmir parties, separatists for restart of talk process with Pak



Srinagar: A day ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Jammu and Kashmir, mainstream parties as well as separatists organisations were on the same page asking him to restart the dialogue process with Pakistan in finding a lasting solution to the Kashmir issue.

Singh will be arriving here on Tuesday on a two-day visit during which he will inaugurate the railway tunnel connecting Banihal in Jammu region and Qazigund in Kashmir region besides laying the foundation stone for a power project in Kishtawar.

Mainstream political parties including the ruling National Conference, main Opposition PDP and separatist groups like Hurriyat Conference have expressed their opinion for taking the opportunity of extending a hand of friendship to the new government in Pakistan.

"While we want a developmental package for the state, we would also like that the Prime Minister use the soil of Kashmir for extending a hand of friendship to Pakistan and restart the dialogue process with it," NC's provincial president Nasir Aslam told PTI here.

Similar views were echoed by PDP's spokesperson Nayeem Akhter who said there was a need to revive the peace process.

"Peace process needs to be revived and it was time to go beyond local issues and reach out to stake holders in the region as well as across the border," Akhter said.

He said the Prime Minister should send out signals from Kashmir to the new government in Pakistan which seems to be in favour of establishing permanent peace with India.

Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said instead of making this visit a customary one, the Prime Minister should focus on the issues pertaining to people of Kashmir and also initiate a dialogue with all the stake holders.

Asked whether he meant including Hurriyat Conference to be included in the dialogue process, the Mirwaiz said, "We are relevant and that's why we had been holding talks with central leadership till 2006-07.

PTI