Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, J&K Chief Minister, today said he hoped that the break in talks between India and Pakistan would only be temporary. The CM referred to the thaw in relations, achieved in Ufa, Russia, where the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan met and agreed that Mr. Modi would visit Pakistan.

The Chief Minister expressed disappointment over the cancellation of the bilateral NSA meeting, and said he hoped the “Ufa thaw between India, Pakistan doesn’t go waste.”

India has taken steps to remove impediments to normalization of relations, and Mufti Sayeed said he hoped these steps will be reciprocated by Islamabad.

For a sensitive border state like J&K, peace and stability on both the internal and the external fronts, are of critical significance to normalcy, stability and development.

– Mufti Sayeed

Tension between the two countries is not good for Kashmir in the middle, and the CM said he was disappointed by cancellation of the bilateral NSA meeting. “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,” Mufti Sayeed said.

Asserting that Indo-Pak relationship over the years has become multi-dimensional and multi-lateral with each sphere dealing with specified issues like trade, travel, CBMs, diplomatic and political matters, the Chief Minister 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.

In a press release, Mufti Sayeed urged Pakistan to respond to New Delhi’s gesture to engage in a meaningful dialogue to address the hopes and expectations of the larger constituency of peace. He said the only way forward, to restore regional peace and stability, is to engage in dialogue. He also said he wants to see both countries “walk the bridge of trust together.”

“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.”

The major loser in the frozen relations between India and Pakistan is Jammu & Kashmir, Mufti Sayeed said, because the state has become the main 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.” – Mufti Sayeed.

In 2005, Mufti Sayeed started cross-LoC trade and travel. That decision was unthinkable to most people at the time. The Chief Minister lead the way to take Confidence Building Measures to gain peace and stability for the region. “Cross-LoC trade and travel is the biggest Confidence Building Measure that has yielded rich dividends and is being widely acknowledged across the board,” he said.

The J&K Government provides space for 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,” the CM said.

J&K Chief Minister, Mufti Sayeed.

Kashmir Chief Minister, Mufti Sayeed.

Editor’s note: NewsBlaze published a followup Cross-LOC traders story in 2012, “Conciliation Resources and Cross-LoC Traders To Organize Joint Federation” by Zafar Choudhary.