“For any lasting solution, Kashmiris must be involved”

Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the ‘moderate faction’ of the Hurriyat Conference, on Sunday urged Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to move forward substantively on the Kashmir issue. They should seek a resolution to the over six-decade-long political crisis by engaging the people of Jammu and Kashmir in a “full-fledged peace process.”

The Mirwaiz, in a statement, said given the massive mandate both leaders had won in their respective countries, they could take bold initiatives for the resolution of disputes. “There must be a serious and result-oriented process of dialogue. For this to happen, India and Pakistan must engage the people of Jammu & Kashmir as an active and true partner in the search for peace. For any lasting solution, Kashmiris must be involved.”

Calls for serious efforts

All the parties — India, Pakistan and the people of Jammu and Kashmir — must make serious efforts to resolve the conflict, he added. “Efforts must be focussed on finding a solution that accommodates the needs and interests of all parties and which upholds the Kashmiri people’s aspirations and right of self-determination.”

“Kashmiris,” he said, “have suffered long enough. Those in power and those in opposition share an equal responsibility and moral obligation to be part of the solution. Vital opportunities to gift a peaceful future to our future generations should no longer be consumed in domestic politicking.”

The Hurriyat was willing to contribute positively towards any serious peace process, the Mirwaiz said. “Kashmiris will be closely watching the developments between India and Pakistan. If we see any sign of a serious and courageous effort to find a solution, Kashmiris will definitely respond with an even greater sense of seriousness and courage.”