Srinagar: New Delhi’s “interlocutor” for Kashmir, former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma, has dispatched invitations to pro-India political parties for holding talks to bring “peace in the state”.
State Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir said that the Congress received Sharma’s invitation for talks in the late evening.
“We will meet Sharma,” Mir said. “There is no problem in having talks.”
Mir said the Congress does not want to provide excuses to either Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti or the Bharatiya Janta Party by not meeting Sharma.
“If the talk process is scuttled due to certain reasons, we do not want to give excuses to the chief minister or BJP that we are responsible for the failure,” Mir said.
“So, we would listen to Sharma. We will see what strategy he has to address the Kashmir issue.”
Mir, however, accused the BJP-PDP government of taking half-hearted steps to solve the Kashmir problem.
“We all know this exercise is eyewash. There is no bigger initiative to address the political problem,” Mir said, adding, “Where is the Atal Behari Vajpayee formula that the chief minister has been reiterating for the past three years? The BJP government has even come down heavily on autonomy. This means they have something different planned internally for Kashmir.”
Dineshwar Sharma is to visit Kashmir on November 6. Last month, the BJP-led government in Delhi appointed Sharma to hold talks with “all stakeholders” in Kashmir. Pro-freedom groups have refused to talk to him till the Indian government recognises Kashmir as a disputed territory.
National Conference general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar said that his party has not yet received the invitation for talks.
“We have not yet decided whether we will meet the interlocutor or not,” Sagar said. “We will decide after a party meeting that will include top leaders and functionaries.”
Sagar said the decision to talk or not will be taken once NC president Farooq Abdullah arrives from his four-day tour of the valley’s border areas.
Head of the Democratic Party Nationalist (DPN), Ghulam Hassan Mir, said their party has received the invitation.
“The invitation has asked us to come for talks. They have asked us for the time of meeting,” Mir said. “Hakim Yasin, MY Tarigami and I will sit together and then decide what to do.”
Chairman of the Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) Engineer Rashid said that he had also received the invitation for talks.
“They have sought a meeting. We will meet him,” Rashid said.
He also said that the Hurriyat should have appointed an interlocutor to meet Sharma. “The government expects that Hurriyat will not talk. The Hurriyat should have appointed an interlocutor and engaged them in talks. They should have exposed them if they believe they are not sincere,” Rashid said.