SRINAGAR: On the third day of his five-day visit to the State, interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma on Wednesday met political leaders and said he would try his best to meet the Hurriyat leaders and wished that peace returns to the Valley.
Sharma, who arrived here on Monday on a five-day visit after being appointed interlocutor by central government for holding sustained dialogue with stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir, today met opposition National Conference working president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah at his Gupkar residence in Srinagar.
It was Sharma’s first meeting with a key political leader of the State during his three-day stay in the visit. In last two days, he met about 50 delegations and individuals but key political figures, businessmen and civil society members had stayed away.
The meeting between Sharma and Omar lasted for nearly an hour during which the two leaders are understood to have discussed the prevailing political and security situation in the State, especially in Kashmir.
After the meeting, Omar told reporters that Sharma briefed him about the task given to him and sought suggestions how to do it in a better way and how to make his mission a success.
“I gave him some suggestions and hope that he would expand the ambit of dialogue process,” he said.
Taking at dig at Sharma for meeting delegations at the guest house in Srinagar, Omar said, “If he stays at a guest house and waits for people to meet him, then this process won't work. I hope when next time he comes here, there would be much efforts and activities on his part”.
He said they want that Kashmir issue should be resolved through dialogue so that people can live in peace and tranquillity.
Asked whether he discussed party’s agenda including autonomy with Sharma, he said, “The NC has not got any invite for meeting with him. When NC delegation meets him, then it will discuss autonomy and our agenda with him. I did not discuss it with him.”
Later, the interlocutor visited the residence of CPI (M) State secretary and MLA Kulgam Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami and held a joint meeting with Tarigami, MLA Hakeem Yasin and former minister Ghulam Hassan Mir.
After the meeting, Sharma told reporters that he met a lot of people in Srinagar and his meetings have been very good.
“I wish that peace returns to Kashmir soon and a political solution is found,” he said.
Asked whether he would reach out to separatist Hurriyat leaders, Sharma said, “I will try my best to meet them”.
Later, Tarigami, Yasin and Mir addressed a joint press conference and said Kashmir needs a lasting solution, which is possible only through credible and meaningful dialogue with all stakeholders.
“In order to create a conducive atmosphere for the new initiative, Prime Minister should assure that Article 370 and Article 35-A will be safeguarded, cases of arrested political leaders be reviewed for their release, police cases against youth be withdrawn and harassment of youth stopped,” they said.
A Congress delegation led by state president Ghulam Ahmad Mir also met Sharma today.
“We told him to come clear on the mandate given to him by the central government. We also told him that Hurriyat is a stakeholder and he should talk to them also,” said a Congress leader, who attended the meeting.
A PDP delegation led by party vice-president Sartaj Madni also called on Sharma.
A PDP spokesman said Madni reminded the interlocutor about the trust deficit, which impedes any good initiative for peace and resolution.
He said the centre should gain the confidence of people and stakeholders in order to sustain the process of dialogue till every stakeholder is willingly engaged.
Madni also told the interlocutor to reach out to sufferers and youth through compassion and with an open mind. “Once the dialogue process takes off, Pakistan’s involvement will further facilitate the process to make it result oriented”.
Sharma will be travelling to Jammu tomorrow, where he would stay for two days and meet representatives of political parties, traders, civil society members and NGOs.