Talk to Pakistan, Modi’s former ally Mehbooba Mufti urges India amid Kashmir tension

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SRINAGAR: India should talk to Pakistan and separatists in Kashmir to defuse tension arising from a suicide attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy that was claimed by Pakistan-based militants, a former chief minister of the state said.
Mehbooba Mufti, who was chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir from early 2014 to June last year when Prime Minister Narendra
Modi’sHindu nationalist party withdrew support for her regional party, said an ongoing crackdown on militants and those supporting secession could further alienate the people.
India has vowed to kill all the militants in the country’s only Muslim-majority state if they do not give up arms, after a 20-year-old local man killed 40 paramilitary troopers in a suicide attack last month. Indian security forces have killed 18 militants in Kashmir since then, the army said on Monday.
“I strongly feel that there has to be a dialogue process internally as well as externally, with Pakistan,” Mufti said in an interview on Friday. “The situation is going to get worse if some kind of political process is not initiated on the ground now.”
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has sought to speak with Modi amid the hostility, said no militant group would be allowed to operate from his country to carry out attacks abroad, days after his government announced a sweeping crackdown against Islamist militant organisations.
Mufti said. “Whatever relationship we have with Pakistan, it has a direct impact on Jammu and Kashmir and we are the worst sufferers of this animosity.”

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