Peace efforts on, but violence continues in J&K
8 January 2001
The Hindustan Times
Jammu: THE RULING National Confe-rence in Jammu and Kashmir is not too optimistic about the Centre's move to court the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) for a dialogue to resolve the Kashmir problem. In an exclusive interview with The Hindustan Times, Public Works Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar said APHC's failure to control violence during the ceasefire showed that their leaders had no control over the militants and could not bring peace to the State. Sagar is one of the most vociferous of the National Conference leaders. What would the Centre talk to the Hurriyat leaders about, he asked. 'Some of them are demanding azadi, while others want to merge with Pakistan. Now it is for the Central Government to decide what to talk to the Hurriyat and under what parameters. So far as we are concerned, we are waiting and watching,' he said. Sagar said the National Conference offered the best solution to the Kashmir issue. 'We want greater autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir and that is in the interest of both the country and the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Our agenda is peace and prosperity and if the Centre-Hurriyat talks can bring that, we welcome that. We are for peace'. He agreed with Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah's suggestion that the Line of Control be made a permanent international border. Sagar said, 'National Conference is the real representative of all the three regions of the State and that was proved in the 1996 Assembly elections and subsequently in the parliamentary elections of 1998 and 1999.'