16 July, New Delhi
The Congress has backed the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, for writing a letter to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, saying that the former is the citizen of India and has the right to write a letter to whosoever he wants.
“He is a citizen of India. He has a right to write letter to whosoever he wants. But what will be the impact of this letter that is a bit difficult to say because I don’t think that Nawaz Sharif was waiting for his letter to hold talks with the,” Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar told ANI.
He said the only way to resolve the issue of Kashmir is to hold talks with Pakistan and the Hurriyat together.
“It’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has restricted everyone to hold talks with the Hurriyat and nobody is gaining anything from it. The path shown by the Shahi Imam is correct; we should hold talks with Pakistan and even the Hurriyat should be included in it,” Aiyar said.
Another Congress leader Meem Afzal also supported Bukhari’s letter to Sharif and said that Bukhari wrote the letter for the betterment of Kashmir, as it seems he is concerned about the ongoing situation of Kashmir.
“I think he has done this thing for the betterment of the people. He wants the matter of Kashmir to be resolved. I completely support him,” Afzal told ANI.
Earlier on Saturday, Shahi Imam Bukhari wrote a letter to Sharif in which he urged him to use his authority to end the volatile atmosphere in the Kashmir Valley by initiating dialogue with Hurriyat representatives.
“The Kashmir situation is becoming volatile day by day, resulting in an increase in tensions between the two countries (India and Pakistan) as days pass. I think that more delay in the creation of a favourable environment for peace shall make the settlement of the Kashmir issue more difficult,” Bukhari said in his letter to Sharif.
“Therefore, with all the intellect, wisdom and prudence at our disposal, we must make every effort to save Kashmir from the dangerous destruction and devastation it faces and pave the way for the establishment of peace there. The common people of Kashmir are in a state of terror and helplessness as they find their dreams for peace shattered,” he added.
Bukhari, in his letter, said, “As a paradise on earth, the once peaceful valley known for its joyous life has today become a valley of tears Thousands of people are living, under the shadow of AK-47, a life besieged by bloodshed. Today, it has become unbelievable that people all over the world once considered the Kashmir Valley as the paradise on earth as today it has become an abattoir. This game of death and destruction is making the situation graver. The only realistic recourse is peace and parleys.”
Maintaining that millions of Indian Muslims are facing a trying situation, Bukhari appealed to Nawaz Sharif to ease tension on the borders, normalise the situation and initiate a dialogue with the Hurriyat representatives.
He warned and cautioned that the Kashmir issue can neither be solved through guns and stones nor through military expeditions.
“We should create an environment conducive for the talks at the earliest. Through exchange of views and dialogue on the larger issues, we all should formulate a strategy that is in the interest of both nations,” he said.
“What I perceive in the context of the current situation is that positive measures aimed to ensure the dialogue process are needed, keeping in view the interests of the two countries and their people . I request you to kindly persuade the militant youth and Hurriyat leaders to agree for a ceasefire through your good offices and influence,” he concluded.