US Diplomats call on Political Secretary to Omar Abdullah
“US Consul assures re-look into negative travel advisory for Kashmir”
Srinagar: The National Conference Tuesday advocated dialogue with Pakistan as well as separatists to resolve political issues facing the state saying that K- Issue has to be addressed politically.
While speaking to Ms. Sarah. A. Duffy, senior Consul officer and head of American Citizen services who called on Tanvir Sadiq, the Political secretary to Omar Abdullah at his downtown Srinagar residence, underlined the need of sustained internal and external dialogue between the Centre and the separatists and the two neighboring countries of India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue once for all.
\”Jammu and Kashmir is a political problem and can be resolved only through a process of dialogue. We have to start the dialogue process both internally as well as bilaterally (with Pakistan) for addressing this issue,\” Tanvir Sadiq said adding \”If it were only an internal matter, then Shimla, Lahore and Agra talks would not have been held,\” he said, underlining the importance of involving Pakistan in talks for resolving the issue.
Strongly advocating relaxing of Negative Travel advisory against the state the Political secretary told the US diplomat who also looks into the advisories for other states the need to consider relaxing the travel advisory.
“Keeping in view the peace, progress and security situation in the Valley the US should reconsider its negative travel advisory against the state and especially places like Srinagar, Pehalgam, Gulmarg and other tourist destination” said Tanvir amid assurance from the US diplomat to reconsider the same in its next meeting with a positive frame of mind.
“We promise to revisit the travel advisory in our 6 monthly meeting held, and I assure you that we will positively look into it” said Sarah Duffy the Consul for US embassy.
Expressing deep concerns over the recent ceasefire violation along the LOC the Political Secretary said “The two countries should take steps for earning each others’ confidence to carry forward the dialogue process between the two countries otherwise such incidents were not good for the dialogue process nor for the two countries
“The heavy firing has created panic among villagers who have been fleeing the areas after being caught between the shooting. You cannot allow a situation where our people are leaving their homes their fields, their kids are leaving their schools to continue like this,” said Tanvir adding “Ceasefire has been the biggest achievement of the peace talks and if it is violated, the situation will be difficult to handle”
Stating that reluctance by the separatists to get engaged in dialogue is a stumbling block in finding the roadmap to the problem Tanvir said “Omar led government is strongly convincing the Centre to be in dialogue with separatists and also engage Pakistan in an external dialogue so that the long pending political issues of J&K are settled”
The Political secretary said that the Chief Minister is committed to facilitate dialogue process, \”We will continue to bat for it and facilitate the dialogue,\” he said.
Tanvir said unless friendship and peace is restored between the two countries, the basic political issues cannot be solved amicably.
“Guns are always responsible for bleedings and killings. Let gun-culture end once for all. Let peace prevail. Let issues be resolved amicably across the table,” he said, adding “We have seen how much damage guns have caused to Pakistan. The people in Pakistan have undergone an unfortunate phase of killings and sufferings due to gun in similar way as the people of Jammu and Kashmir experienced during a long period of militancy for over 22 years.”
He expressed hope that peace will prevail.
While advocating restoration of Autonomy the bedrock of the National Conference the Political Secretary referred to the special status of the State recognized by the Constitution of India.
“The accession of J&K to the Union of India was on four matters currency, communication, foreign affairs and defense. That is why we have special status, our own constitution and the State Flag,” Tanvir said
Special Counselor service specialist Suresh K. Madan accompanied the Diplomat. (CNS)