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The former chief minister, as well as the vice president of National Conference (NC) Omar Abdullah, said that Kashmir youth are more alienated today than they were in the early 1990s. Speaking in an event organised by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) London, Omar Abdullah said that instead of finding jobs in the government or private sector, the youth were joining the militancy.

“The gap between the youth and the government of India (GOI) needs to be narrowed urgently, otherwise its impact would be bad”, he said. “While we are going through our election process, I think Pakistan needs to do a bit of soul searching in terms of addressing legitimate concerns that India has,” he added.

The former chief minister said that releasing the chief of Lashkar-e-Toiba outfit Hafiz Saeed is a set back to the confidence building measures (CBMs). He further said that the releasing of stamp tax in the name of Burhan Wani did not help. The glorifying of Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani and others, by Pakistan, was one of the reasons why India called off the proposed meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi in New York in September. “Pakistan is our neighbour; whatever concerns we have with Pakistan, we have accepted that war is not an option. So, the only option available to us is talks. We need to resolve our differences through dialogue. But for that, at some stage, Pakistan will also have to take India’s concerns on board,” Omar said.

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