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Don't derail relations with Pakistan, says Farooq Abdullah

A Correspondent in Delhi | December 02, 2008 19:30 IST

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Kashmiri political parties called for restraint after the Mumbai terror attacks, so as not to derail the relationship with Pakistan, as they fear that would impact situation in Jammu and Kashmir [Images].

In separate statements issued in Srinagar [Images], former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed urged the Indian government not to embark on "punitive measures" against Pakistan as it would cast a shadow on Jammu and Kashmir.

National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah, who attended the all-party meeting called by the Prime Minister  Manmohan Singh [Images] on Sunday, said it was not proper to blame Pakistan directly. "It is a matter of proper investigation how terrorists reached Mumbai using the sea route. Without completing investigations, it is not proper
to blame Pakistan," he said.

Abdullah called for strengthening Joint Anti-Terror Mechanism to fight terrorism together in South Asia. He said it appears that Islamabad [Images] was not involved in Mumbai incidents. ''How can Pakistan be involved in Mumbai terrorist attacks when their Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was himself touring India to discuss terrorism and other issues," Abdullah asked.

Mufti, chief of the Peoples Democratic Party, said the Mumbai incidents were testing times for the leadership of India and Pakistan. "In this depressing scenario, South Asia's security and stability would largely depend on how the leadership of India and Pakistan confronts the challenge," he said.

Mufti asked the Indian government to appreciate the positive signals emanating from Jammu and Kashmir in the ongoing Assembly elections and ensure that the Mumbai attacks do not result in any kind of confrontation in South Asia.

"It is my firm belief that a solution to all problems in the region is possible only within a space provided by cooperation and reconciliation between India and Pakistan, instead of falling into the trap laid by enemies of peace, he said.

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