Sajad Lone demands issue of Kashmir to be done with “constructive engagement” - TNBCLive

On Sunday, separatist-turned-mainstream politician Sajad Lone claims that his part, People’s Conference, favors “constructive engagement” for solving all the disputes in Kashmir and maintain peace in the region.

Mr. Lone told the source that “Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has a role to control the situation but the solution is not available with our assembly… At the political level, it is the central government which has a bigger role and then it spans across the Line of Control (LoC) as well.”

He continued, “we are in favor of it and it should be done through constructive engagement,” while he greets several prominent persons to his party-unit in Jammu.

Prominent persons who joined People’s Conference are Peoples Democratic Party’s additional spokesperson Abhijeet Jasrotia, MLA Zanskar Syed Mohammad Baqir Rizvi, Irfan Inquilabi from Poonch, former lawyers Abrar Ahmad, and Ashish Pandita.

Sajad Lone said that the state Assembly does not have the power to fix the issue of Kashmir.

Flanked by the former Minister Imran Ansari, Mr. Lone further said that “If I promise you a solution of the conflict on the basis of a vote which is inadequate to resolve it, it will tantamount to lying (to the people). This is beyond the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly as the provincial government has a limited role to control the symptoms, which is violence.”

Mr. Lone said that his party is not against dialogue or consecutive engagement to resolve the disputes.

“The constructive engagement of any sort on the conflict is not a substitute to reach out to the people of the state. Two measures are there to address any conflict – the operational which the Army and the police are taking care of and the second one is structural which is not based on dialogue alone,” added Mr. Lone.

He further said that the central government should maintain a long time strategy on reaching out to people of Jammu and Kashmir across the state.

The People’s Conference Party Chief said that “When I say reach out, it does not mean economic doles, it means engaging and removing the mistrust and when you speak about the conflict resolution, you never talk in days and years but it takes decades. The state assembly has a six-year tenure while the conflict resolution takes decades.”

While answering to a question about the measurement lacks by BJP-led Modi government at the Centre to address the issue of Kashmir, Mr. Lone shot back and said, “Why only five years, let us talk about 15, 20 and 25 years.”

“I am saying there should be a long time strategy. The Manmohan Singh-led government have done no wonders. What type of dialogue or engagement did he hold? The working group was formed and I prepared a roadmap under the name of ‘Achievable Nationhood’ in their direction but they refused to acknowledge it. Instead, it was shelved,” added Mr. Lone.

Citing to the working groups and roundtable conferences, Mr. Lone claims that “Roundtable was meant to be with separatist but the PDP went under the table and pleaded that they will be left irrelevant if the mainstream parties were involved, they were aware that they (separatists) will then not share the table with them.”

“What happened to the recommendations of the working groups, interlocutor’s reports? Nothing was implemented. It is a fine art of lying. How long we will lie? First, whom they met, their own people who have no grudge,” said Mr. Lone adding that they are propagating dialogue with the separatists when PDP was in power in the state.

Sajad Lone asked, “Who called the media to the guest house where the dialogue was scheduled between militants and the government. All the three (Hizbul Mujahideen militant commanders involved in the dialogue) were killed. Who is sabotaging?”

Former Minister in PDP-BJP government said that one tried to go sincerely to reach out and fix the issue, other pretends to resolve.

He further asserted that “What we have seen are the pretensions of different sorts.”

Criticizes the leadership of the National Conference, Mr. Lone said that it was the rigging in 1987 Jammu and Kashmir Elections, which led to an eruption of the militancy in the state.

Mr. Lone continued, “Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah welcomed the recent court order handing over life imprisonment to Congress leader Sujjan Kumar in 1984 Sikh riots case. The verdict plays a deterrent for others although the sentence was given after 34 years but who is responsible for the death and destruction in the valley and why they are being allowed to walk away with it.”

“I am not saying that it (1987 rigging of elections) was the cause but it definitely was the greatest facilitator to change a historically peaceful population and trigger violence. Nobody is talking about it. Why are we obsessed with only the symptom, killing is the symptom, there is a disease and 1987 is the part of the disease and unless you bring the perpetrators of 1987 to book, this thing will not stop,” added the PDP Chief.

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