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Kashmir politicians react differently to IAF strike

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Totally new ball game, says Omar; Mehbooba says ‘objectives’ of both countries served; Sajad Lone hopes it will be start of unlearning process for Pak

Srinagar, Feb 26: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah Tuesday said the strikes carried out by the Indian Air Force on “JeM camps” is a “totally new ball game” as it was first time that air power was used during peace time to hit “terrorist targets” in the neighbouring country.

“We’ve entered a whole new paradigm with the Balakote air strike. The post Uri strike was to avenge our losses, Balakote was a ‘preemptive strike to prevent an imminent JeM attack’. Totally new ballgame,” Abdullah tweeted.

The former chief minister was reacting to the statement made by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale in New Delhi that India conducted a major preemptive strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest camp early Tuesday to prevent suicide attacks being planned by the Pakistan-based militant group, “killing a large number of terrorists and trainers”.

“A number of firsts from Balakote, the two most obvious are the first time air power has been used to strike inside Pakistan during peace times (last time in 1971 was during war) & first time visible, acknowledged use of force to preempt a perceived terror strike,” Abdullah added.

Reacting to the developments, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti expressed hope that the “objectives” of both New Delhi and Islamabad had been served as they were making contradictory claims about the air strikes.

“Post pre-dawn strikes carried out by IAF, conflicting reports coming in. Official communique by FS claims that terror training camps were bombed while Pak denied this & said that the planes made a hasty retreat after being spotted. Hope objective of both sides has been served,” she said in a tweet.

Advocating dialogue between India and Pakistan, Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone said Kashmiris are yearning to get respite from violence.

In a series of tweets, Lone said Kashmiris have been at the receiving end during the three-decade violence.  “Hope we can end to all types of violence. Hope Kashmiris who have been at the receiving end for three decades get respite from violence. Millions died in Europe only to evolve as EU. Historically countries evolve bloodily. Hope it has been bloody enough for the two countries to now talk,” Lone tweeted.

In another tweet, he said the air strikes will eventually end the cycle of violence.

“Pacifist to the core I am. But the reality as it stares in our faces is that this retaliatory action will actually be the start of the unlearning process for Pakistan. This will set the benchmark for deterrence. And eventually crowd out cycle of violence” he tweeted

Meanwhile PC spokesperson Adnan Mir urged the central government to start a dialogue process in order to put an end to bloodshed in Kashmir

“I hope today’s strikes inside Pakistan put an end to the war hysteria whipped up post-Pulwama attack. Like the ‘preemptive’ strikes across LoC, it’s time to have a ‘proactive’ policy on dialogue and reconciliation. Kashmir needs a break from the constant blaze of guns and grenades,” he said in tweet.

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