Despite being a coalition partner with hardliner Bharatiya Janta Party, India-held Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday took a bold step and stressed the need for Pak-India bilateral talks on Kashmir.
She took to Twitter to voice her heart and wrote, “Dialogue with Pakistan is necessary if we are to end the bloodshed.”
“We have to talk because war is not an option,” she added.
Mufti, in the same tweet, expressed her fears of a backlash from Indian media but also showed her resolve to stand by what she believes to be right. “I know I will be labelled anti-national by news anchors tonight but that doesn’t matter.”
She said the people of Jammu and Kashmir are suffering.
Mehbooba Mufti expressed these views in the wake of an attack on an army base in IHK that left ten, including five soldiers, dead. In addition to Indian soldiers, four alleged militants and a civilian were also killed in the attack.
A firefight erupted on Saturday when an unknown number of heavily-armed men stormed the base in Jammu, the second-largest city in the disputed Himalayan region bordering Pakistan.
Nine others, including women and children, were injured in the attack that the Indian army blamed on Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
The director general of police for Jammu and Kashmir, S.P. Vaid, said communications intercepts “suggest that the terrorists involved in the attack belong to Jaish-e-Mohammad group”.
Indian authorities held Pakistan responsible for the attack, whereas Islamabad denied the allegation.
In a statement issued in Islamabad, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said it was a pattern that Indian officials made irresponsible statements even before any investigation into any incident had been initiated.