Pune: Former IAS officer Shah Faesal, who recently quit the service to join politics, Wednesday called for reviving talks with Pakistan to bring lasting peace in militancy-affected Jammu and Kashmir, his home state.
The 2010-batch IAS exam topper, while batting for “credible political solution” in the strife-torn state, said separatists and Kashmiri Pandits should be made part of the dialogue process to bring about peace in the Kashmir Valley.
Faesal, an MBBS degree holder, was here to inaugurate the 12th Kashmir Festival, organised by NGOs Sarhad and Arham Foundation.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the event, Faesal (35) spoke at length about his decision to resign from the elite civil services and join politics, his views on the Kashmir issue and future plans.
“Looking at the conditions in the Valley, there is a need to draw the attention of central government because, till the time the killings do not stop, the situation in the state will not improve,” he said.
When a soldier dies in Kashmir during an anti-militancy operation and when his coffin reaches his home, an atmosphere of hate prevails, he said. Similarly, when youth from the Valley is killed and his coffin reaches his house, this hate multiplies, the former bureaucrat said.
“So peace cannot be attained through military or monetary solutions (financial packages), it can only be attained through a credible political solution,” Faesal said.
“I think the central government should reach out to all the stakeholders of the state and start a political initiative through dialogue which was already there. There is a need to revive that dialogue process,” he said.
Asked about the Centre’s initiative of sending an interlocutor to hold talks with all stakeholders in an effort to find lasting peace in J&K, he said looking at the enormity of the issue, the solution should be at par with the problem.
Quizzed about Pakistan’s foreign minister reaching out to separatist leaders in the Valley, he said whenever there have been talks between the two countries, the situation in the border state has improved.
“The lives of people became easy. The situation at LoC was also peaceful and the lives of soldiers also became comfortable…so there is a need to revive the SAARC concept and talks (with Pakistan) need to be resumed,” he said.
The dialogue process should include all stakeholders, including separatists and Kashmiri Pandits, he said.
Asked about militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen warning the Kashmiri youth against supporting him, Faesal said there is a lot of distrust in the northern state.
“People in the state are not ready to believe anybody. When I say we can restore political rights of the people through democratic way, some stakeholders feel I am coming to create hurdles in their way,” he said.
“They feel that I am coming to take the youth on the wrong path…so they do not have trust in leaders and this is very much expected. Looking at these issues, I can sense the enormity of the responsibility one leader has, who needs to deal with such apprehensions and mistrust,” he said.
Asked about floating a political party of his own, Faesal said he has not thought about it yet though youths in the state want him to move in that direction.
Talking about his resignation, the former civil servant said, “Administrative services have a role…I can provide infrastructure like water, power, road but I cannot restore the political rights of the people. That can be given only by political leaders and legislators.” (PTI)