India and Pakistan must talk and solve the Kashmir issue to end terrorism in the region, former chief minister Farooq Abdullah said on Friday, after a meeting of opposition parties to discuss a stand-off between the two countries and the ongoing unrest that has crippled normal life for over three months in the valley.
"Both countries must sit and have talks on Kashmir. That is the only solution to end terrorism. Otherwise, it will keep on escalating," Abdullah told reporters in Srinagar, speaking for the first since the eruption of the unrest that has left over 90 people dead. "All of us are looking for the way forward and not looking back at what happened," the National Conference President said.
He said dialogue was the only way forward to end the Kashmir problem and urged the central and state governments to have an internal dialogue, including with separatists. "When former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee can reach out to Pakistan for peace why can't we speak to our own people."
He said the turmoil in the Kashmir Valley that has left thousands injured since the July 8 killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani caused concern and demanded that "a solution needs to be found" to the vexed Kashmir issue.
Abdullah demanded immediate release of all separatist leaders who have been jailed or detained in their respective houses since the present cycle of violence began.
The meeting of opposition parties took place at his high security Gupkar Road residence. Leaders of various opposition parties said they discussed the Kashmir situation and the manner in which the state and central governments were dealing with it.
Those who attended the meeting included state Congress chief G.A. Mir and state secretary of the CPM Muhammad Yusuf Tarigami.