Afghan war will spill over into India if Kashmir issue not resolved: Mirwaiz

On his return from Pakistan, moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Saturday warned that the violence in Afghanistan will spill over if steps are not taken to resolve the Kashmir issue.

"There is a lot of concern. There could be a spillover effect. Its effects couldn't be limited to Pakistan. India and Kashmir would also be affected," Mirwaiz said at his first press conference after his return from a visit to Pakistan. "The coming year and a half is very important. There is a window of opportunity for India and Pakistan to come together for the solution of Kashmir issue."

The Mirwaiz's comments echoed former top Army commander in the valley, Lt Gen Atta Hasnain, who had said that 2014 would be crucial for Kashmir if the US withdraws from Afghanistan.

Pointing out that Pakistan's Kashmir Committee has helped build a consensus among political parties in that country on the Kashmir issue, the Mirwaiz urged India to set up such a panel. "The time has come for a political solution of the Kashmir issue. Pakistan has a Kashmir Committee. There is great coordination between Pakistan's foreign office and this committee. There is a lot of confusion in India. There is a need for such an initiative. The Indian parliament must come forward; the political parties must come forward to dispel this confusion and create consensus for resolution of Kashmir issue," he said.

India, the Hurriyat chief said, has to "move from management to the resolution" of the Kashmir issue. "Attempts are being made to project the grievances of Kashmiri people as their aspirations," he said. "There is need to change this approach."

The Mirwaiz reiterated that the Hurriyat was ready to discuss different ideas for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, including former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's four point formula. "If we have to find a solution, we have to be open to all the options and Musharraf's proposal is one of the formulae that can be discussed," he said. "There is openness in Pakistan to discuss the idea, provided India is ready."

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