Noting there is no alternative to political engagement, National Conference working president Omar Abdullah today said the Centre should start a comprehensive dialogue with various stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir as well as with Pakistan in order to achieve sustainable peace.
"New Delhi needs to realise that it has to talk to various stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir and resume the dialogue process with Pakistan if it wants to see normalcy and peace in Kashmir," Omar, a former chief minister, said addressing party workers in Kupwara, 100 kms from here.
Omar said his party had conveyed these thoughts to the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister when the opposition parties from the state had called on them during the course of the recent unrest.
"We asked the central government to realise that neighbours cannot afford perpetual hostility and peace was the only sustainable option," he said.
Reminding the Centre of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's efforts and policy viz-a-viz Kashmir, Omar said, "We asked them to adopt a similar policy of reconciliation and resolution rather than pushing the people of the state into a corner of suffocation and hopelessness."
Omar asked the Centre to change its "rigid stance" and adopt a nuanced and humane policy of engagement rather than treating a political issue through law and order mechanisms.
The NC working president said the PDP-BJP experiment in Jammu and Kashmir had turned out to be monumental political failure that had wreaked havoc with peace and stability in the state.
It had also brought about a complete collapse of the administrative machinery rendering developmental works defunct, he said.
"While National Conference remains committed to its struggle for the restoration of Autonomy, we have always maintained that we will welcome any other solution that is acceptable to the people of Jammu and Kashmir as well as New Delhi and Islamabad," Omar said.
He said National Conference, while standing by its own proposed solution and agenda, will continue demanding that New Delhi initiates an unconditional political engagement with all other stakeholders, including the Hurriyat leadership, to end the turmoil and bloodshed in Kashmir.
"Distorting and misrepresenting the ground situation in Kashmir at various fora won't change the ground reality. The problem in Kashmir isn't a derivative of terrorism or black money but that of an unresolved political dispute," Omar said.