Mufti claims he had high hopes for NSA dialogue as Omar blasts him for 'sabotaging summit'

Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed expressed his disappointment over the cancellation of the NSA meeting

Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed expressed his disappointment over the cancellation of the NSA meeting

Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Sunday expressed his disappointment over the cancellation of the bilateral meeting between National Security Advisors (NSA) of India and Pakistan.

His words came as opposition National Conference working president Omar Abdullah charged him with being a party to sabotaging the talks.

Mufti said he wants to see both the countries walk the bridge of trust.

“Pakistan should respond to New Delhi’s warm gesture to engage in a meaningful dialogue so that hopes and expectations of the larger constituency of peace were 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,” Mufti said. 

He described dialogue as the only way forward to restore peace and stability in the region. 

Abdullah on Saturday had accused the center and the state government of sabotaging the NSA-level talks by detaining separatist leaders ahead of their meeting with Pakistan's National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz.

Later his party National Conference issued strong statement against Chief Minister Mufti. 

“It had become evident and apparent that J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had arrived at an understanding with the central government and the BJP to remain silent of the detention of Hurriyat leaders in exchange for the BJP’s assurance that they would desist from destabilising his government in J&K. If this isn’t the case, Mufti Sayeed should resign as the chief minister,” the NC said. 

However, Mufti on Sunday tried to clear the air and hoped that the break in NSA level talks between the two countries would be temporary and the thaw achieved at Ufa will not be allowed to go waste. 

He said he hoped the two neighbours will re-engage soon in a meaningful dialogue and steps taken by New Delhi to remove impediments in the normalisation of relations will be reciprocated by Islamabad.  

National Confernce working president Omar Abdullah charged Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed with helping to sabotaging the talks

National Confernce working president Omar Abdullah charged Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed with helping to sabotaging the talks

Without responding to the NC’s accusations, Mufti presented himself as a proponent of dialogue. He explained that for a sensitive border state like J&K, peace and stability on both the internal and the external fronts were of critical significance to normalcy, stability and development.

He said from this perspective, the last-minute cancellation of the NSA-level bilateral meeting between India and Pakistan was 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. 

Siding with the stand taken by the NDA, the CM asserted that the India-Pakistan relationship has become multi-dimensional and multi-lateral over the years, with each sphere dealing with specific issues like trade, travel, confidence building measures, diplomatic and political matters.

He said it was 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. 

Describing J&K as a major loser due to India-Pakistan freeze, Mufti said the state has been the worst casualty of continued confrontation and terrorism.

“We will continue to work for fulfilling the wishes and aspirations of the people. We have promised a clean and accountable administration that works to bring in development in the state. J&K and its people cannot afford to bear huge losses resulting from continued instability in the region,” he added. 

Cross-LoC trade 

Referring to cross-LoC trade and travel which started in 2005, the chief minister said he took a lead in taking similar confidence building measures (CBMs) to entrench peace and stability in the region. 

“Cross-LoC trade and travel is the biggest CBM that has yielded rich dividends and is being widely acknowledged across the board,” he added. 

Meanwhile, the CPI (M) leader and legislator of J&K Assembly Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said the stalling of dialogue between India and Pakistan had caused huge disappointment among all those who were involved in strengthening peace process in the region.