Rajat Sharma

Dialogue is the way out, but initiative has to come from Pakistan

Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has rightly said that only dialogue is the way out from the current impasse, but the initiative will have to come from Pakistan. One has to understand why Pakistan is shying away from dialogue and resorting to heaving shelling on the border. There are three main reasons: one, everybody knows cross-border infiltration will come to a trickle once it starts snowing in the Valley, and that’s the reason why Pakistan is resorting to cover firing to push as many infiltrators as possible, two, Pakistan wants Kashmir issue to be internationalized, and three, domestic political compulsions for Nawaz Sharif. The Pakistani PM’s family is facing corruption charges after Panama Papers leak, he is confronting challenges from the army, and Imran Khan has planned a lockdown in Islamabad. The only way out for Nawaz Sharif is to create tension on the Indian border, to divert people’s attention from domestic issues.
Compare this with the role of Mehbooba Mufti, who has been saying that if children in the Valley resort to stoning and stop studying, what will happen to their future. Mehbooba is also raising question as to why poor kids die in clashes with security forces, and rich kids from families of Hurriyat leaders live a safe and sheltered life. For 111 consecutive days, life in the Valley has come to a standstill. While Hurriyat leaders sit safely inside their homes, the common man has lost all avenues of earnings and they are living a hand-to-mouth existence. Children of Hurriyat leaders study outside Kashmir, while the poor kids are being deprived of education, with separatists now setting fire to school buildings. Ultimately, the people will turn their wrath on Hurriyat Conference.

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