18th February 1997
Jammu: Elaborating on the US stance, Mr Abdullah pointed out how Pakistan had inflicted 'war on us' and if the US stops arms supply to Pakistan, the impasse would be sorted out once and for all. The Chief Minister, who drew responsive applause from the audience comprising political leaders intellectuals and leaders of business and industry in Jammu University made it clear that the "US had the powers to do anything. It can stop Pakistan from aiding terrorism".
To drive home his point, Mr Abdullah recalled Mr Boutros-Ghali's failure to get reelected to the UN as the US had put it foot down. He also criticised those who thought that for All Parties Hurriyat Conference were the real representatives of people of Kashmir. He said: "I am willing to dissolve the Legislative Assembly if they (Hurriyat leaders) decide to participate in the political process. They do not have the courage to face the people," he added.
While responding to queries, Mr Wisner said that the Simla Agreement for the past 25 years had failed to show any utility. There has to be a "response in tune with the changing times and situations. Accords cannot bring peace. The process of making peace is "fragile" and demands bold steps with changing times." He asked India and Pakistan to initiate a dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue and asserted his country's neutrality.
The envoy's lecture, while stressing the need for mutual friendship between the two nations, asked for an Indo-Pak dialogue on Kashmir "taking into account the wishes of the people of the State". He spelt out six points as "fundamental pre conditions if peace is to take root and endure". "He said that the peace can only reign if a political process begins which enables the people of the State to unite for a common cause. Further a dispensation that brings harmony and takes care of victims of violence, especially the Kashmiri Pandits, and all those who have been maimed, widowed or orphaned are necessary preconditions for resolving the issue, Mr Wisner asserted.
The US envoy also called for rebuilding of the economy.Mr Wisner observed that if both the nations fail to engage in meaningful discussions, the issues concerning Kashmir will take a back seat. He said: "All issue between the two nations should be discussed fortnightly." This was interpreted by a few in the audience as a rebuff to Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda's recent statement in Jammu describing 'Kashmir as a closed chapter'.