A leader from the largest secessionist group in India’s Kashmir Valley has said his group is in favour of talks to resolve the decades-long dispute concerning the rights of local Kashmiris.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Chairman of All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC), a political group in Kashmir, said that they have always maintained engagement and dialogue among the stakeholders, as the most peaceful means of resolving the Kashmir issue and not settling anything by force.
“We have not said anything new. We have always been saying this. Kashmiris being the most affected party for the past seventy-two years, naturally want its resolution. Since its inception when all parties came together under one umbrella, APHC has maintained and reiterated that engagement and dialogue among stakeholders are the best and most peaceful means of resolution of Kashmir issue and not force. We have engaged with both India and Pakistan in the past", Farooq said.
Kashmir has been a major bone of contention between rivals India and Pakistan since their independence from British rule in 1947, as both claim it in full but govern in part.
Farooq said he believes the Kashmir issue cannot be resolved militarily or through confrontation, but dialogue and deliberation. He said he wants New Delhi to consider Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer of dialogue on all issues between the two countries as the way forward.
India’s stated position is that violence and dialogue cannot go hand-in-hand and any discussion can only be held under the framework of the country's Constitution. New Delhi is also not agreeable for tripartite talks involving Islamabad, claiming the entire territory of Jammu and Kashmir belongs to India.
Tensions between the two nations ran high after alleged terrorists, with purported camps in Pakistan, killed 40 personnel from India’s paramilitary force in Pulwama in February this year. India responded by carrying out aerial strikes on alleged militant training camps in Balakot, Pakistan-administered Kashmir.