Mufti Sayeed disappointed at NSA level talks cancellation

Srinagar, Aug 23 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed on Sunday expressed disappointment over cancellation of NSA level talks between India and Pakistan, but hoped the stalemate would soon be resolved.

In a statement here, Sayeed expressed disappointment over abrupt cancellation of the meeting but hoped the break in talks would be temporary and the thaw achieved at Russia’s Ufa where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif met and exhibited great camaraderie will not be allowed to go waste.

He pinned hope that the two neighbours will re-engage soon in a meaningful dialogue and steps taken by New Delhi to remove impediments in normalization of relations will be reciprocated by Islamabad.

The chief minister noted that for a sensitive border state like Jammu and Kashmir, peace and stability on both the internal and the external fronts are of critical significance to normalcy, stability and development and from this perspective, last-minute cancellation of the NSA-level meeting is a great disappointment.

“Escalation of firing along the Line of Control (LoC), coupled with incidents of terrorism, are matters of serious concern to us here, as much as they are in the rest of the country,” he said.

Asserting that India-Pakistan relationship over the years has become multi-dimensional and multilateral with each sphere dealing with specified issues like trade, travel, confidence building measures (CBMs), diplomatic and political matters, Sayeed said it is neither warranted nor desirable to insist upon all-inclusive participation, directly or indirectly, in each and every bilateral meeting, like that between the two NSAs.

Stating that he wants to see both the countries walk the bridge of trust together, he urged Pakistan to respond to New Delhi’s warm gesture to engage in a meaningful dialogue so that hopes and expectations of the larger constituency of peace are addressed.

“We wish that the hostilities between the two countries end so that people, who have suffered due to prolonged confrontation, live together as peaceful neighbours,” he said while describing dialogue as the only way forward to restore peace and stability in the region.

Describing his state as a major loser due to India-Pakistan freeze, Sayeed said the state has been the worst casualty of continued confrontation and terrorism and “Jammu and Kashmir and its people cannot afford to bear huge losses resulting from continued instability in the region”.

Sayeed also said his government is firmly committed to provide space for a healthy debate across the political spectrum.

“Our action speaks for itself. We have never sought to curb freedom of expression, nor curtail civil liberties of citizens, so long as the recognized rules are observed and there is no attempt to cause disruption in peace,” he said.

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