(Eds: With additional inputs, minor changes) Srinagar, Apr 4 (PTI) National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah today stressed the need for talks with Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue, asserting that the dialogue process could not wait till the last bullet was fired.
The clock was ticking away and unless a solution was found soon, violence would spread across the Valley, Abdullah told reporters here.
“If it continues like this, I will tell you that there will be no place here from where people will not be ready to die,” he said.
The former chief minister stressed that unless talks were held with Pakistan, there would be no solution to the Kashmir problem.
“If we have to escape from this storm, then it is imperative to find a solution to Kashmir soon and for that it is important to talk to Pakistan,” he said.
The Srinagar MP said the dialogue process couldn’t wait till the last bullet was fired.
“A dialogue has to take place. How long are you going to wait? Till the last bullet, then you will (start) the dialogue,” he asked.
To a question on whether Kashmiri youth were joining militancy after attending funerals of ultras, Abdullah said, “They (security forces) are killing innocents; they are killing even those who are not militants”.
Welcoming the Supreme Court’s ruling on Article 370, the NC president said the Centre must follow the constitution in letter and spirit.
“It (the SC ruling) is a very good verdict. They have said it is permanent. But they (Centre) must undo what had been done to make Article 370 hollow. Half our fight is for returning our 370 (special status), ” he said.
Abdullah said violence was again brewing in the Valley because of the “tragedies” that the nation was facing.
“(With) the misunderstandings that are growing in the nation, young people of Kashmir are seeing their future as dark,” he said.
For their future, the Centre had to ensure that the constitution was followed, he said. Abdullah said the Centre must restore the autonomy granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.
“We have an autonomy which was granted to us. That autonomy must be restored to the people so that their honour is restored. Just playing tricks with it will not help. They have to get back to the normal, to the base root,” he said.
The veteran leader said violence was not the way to resolve issues and criticised people who propagated it.
Asked to comment on Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi’s tweet urging the United Nations to intervene in “Indian Occupied Kashmir” to stop “bloodshed”, Abdullah said killings must stop.
“Not one nation, every nation is condemning the killings. The killings must stop,” he said.
When asked whether the BJP, which is in a coalition with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir, was not in favour of a dialogue with Pakistan, the opposition leader said the ruling PDP had compromised for the sake of power.
“If they (PDP) had any intellect, they should have quit this government. But they love the government and the chair. Though they say it, they do nothing,” Abdullah said.
“For the last four years, they have been saying that talks will be started, but where is that process? The love for the chair has wiped it all,” he said.
He welcomed visitors to Kashmir, and assured them that the people’s fight for their rights was peaceful.
“So come, come to this valley and see the beauty that God has given to this valley. The propaganda by the media against us should be stopped,” Abdullah said.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.