It is a hollow statement. Peace in Kashmir will be restored only when the problem is addressed," said Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq, a prominent
leader and former chairman of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference while reacting to the talks offer by the Centre.
"There should be a serious dialogue aimed at finding a lasting solution to the Kashmir problem," he added.
The Mirwaiz said, "The Centre is only talking about restoration of peace in the state while offering unconditional talks. But peace cannot return unless the problem is resolved."
The Mirwaiz told rediff.com, "There is no cease-fire. It exists on papers only."
"Now, they have directed the security forces to conduct operations against the militants. So where is the cease-fire?"
"No nomination of a chief negotiator but determination and wisdom may enable us to achieve a break through," said Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat while reacting to the appointment of K C Pant as negotiator.
"If you exclude Pakistan from the process, we reach nowhere. We have to rise above sea, beyond and proceed with realism to deal with a sensitive issue like Kashmir," said Bhat, adding, "the APHC had therefore suggested that it be allowed to undertake a visit to Islamabad."
"The delegation,'' he said after its return from Pakistan would "engage in positive political dialogue with the Government of India."
"Such an exercise could give us a result."
Bhat said, "It is no use undertaking an exercise like the one former prime minister Indira Gandhi and chief minister of the state, the late Sheikh Abdullah did as far back as 1975. They did talk, but could not produce a result in terms of a durable solution of the dispute in the larger interests of the people of the entire region."
"No peace can happen in vacuum unless we therefore address the core issue. Involve all parties to the dispute, the words will end up nowhere. India is honour-bound and committed to the APHC's visit to Pakistan."
"There has been a long delay. The cease-fire should have been followed by offer of talks," said Mehbooba Mufti, a senior leader of the pro-India People's Democratic Party and daughter of former Union home minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
She, however, said "We welcome it."
Mehbooba said, "Militants have to be involved in the talks for a final solution to the Kashmir problem."
"A lot of time was wasted. The cease-fire announcement was a bold step and it should have been followed by meaningful talks," she added.
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