SRINAGAR: National Conference’s father-son duo of Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah on Wednesday expressed concern over the escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan as well over the lack of any meaningful political initiative.
“While the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference joins the people of the state in expressing serious concern over the escalation of tension and hostility between India and Pakistan and the ramifications of this situation on peace and stability in the region, we are equally concerned about the absence of any meaningful political initiative from New Delhi to deal with the political situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” they said in a joint statement issued here.
“Unfortunately, despite the alarming situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the horrifying human costs of this current unrest, New Delhi continues to look at the political situation in Jammu and Kashmir through a security prism,” they said.
Abdullahs said that the recent indications of New Delhi taking steps to increase military presence and reestablish military camps and bunkers in Kashmir have augmented the sense of “disaffection and skepticism” in the state.
These “security measures” cannot be alternatives to a political initiative, they said.
Multiple visits by the home minister of India as well as the visit by the Parliamentary All Parties’ Delegation has yielded “no result” and “failed to create a conducive atmosphere for the initiation of a sustainable and meaningful political process”, they said.
Similarly, they added, a joint outreach by a delegation of opposition parties from J&K that called on the president and the prime minister in New Delhi along with other leaders has also “failed to convince New Delhi about the sensitivity and urgency of the evolving situation in J&K”.
“Even suggestions to take certain basic, interim measures to deescalate the situation in J&K – while contours of a larger initiative are conceived – have been summarily ignored,” they said.
They said the governments’ “blatant disregard” for the current situation in J&K was “extremely unfortunate” and “tragic”.
“This indifference and perceived insensitivity can have serious long term implications,” they said.
New Delhi’s refusal to take “concrete and visible” steps to address the “internal dimensions” of the political issue in J&K, even within the “often articulated framework of the Constitution of India”, has become a “diplomatic weakness” that is exploited time and again at various international for a, they said.
“Lack of a structured and sustained bilateral engagement between New Delhi and Islamabad over the last few years has also created a gaping political vacuum that threatens peace and stability in the region,” they said.
Farooq and Omar said the current policy of dealing with the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir “operationally is a reiteration of the tried, tested and failed formulations of dealing with an inherently political issue through military and administrative means”.
“Mass arrests and widespread curbs in the state will only deepen the sense of alienation among the youth and take us further away from the goal of peace and reconciliation,” they said, hoping that New Delhi acknowledges the “unaffordable costs” of ignoring the political issue in Jammu and Kashmir.