Asserting that “mutual dialogue” between India and Pakistan is vital for peace in Jammu and Kashmir, the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said that both the countries should sit across the table to resolve the Kashmir issue.
“I appeal to the prime ministers of both the countries to work towards maintaining peace. People of Jammu and Kashmir have been the worst victims of the Indo-Pak hostility, which has led to their killing and frustration, apart from colossal damage to properties on both sides,” she said, addressing party leaders and supporters at Dara Sikohpark in Bijbehara on the second death anniversary of her father, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.
Peace between the two countries holds key to the progress and development of Jammu and Kashmir, the Chief Minister said, and asserted that the present hostility between India and Pakistan can be swapped with dialogue and mutual-trust.
“My father always strived for reconciliation and mutual trust between the two nations. A political process was started by Mufti sahab in 2002 which resulted in the resumption of cross-Line of Control trade and start of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service. But unfortunately that process was left midway,” she said.
Mehbooba said that the PDP-BJP alliance in the state is “able to defend the rights and interests of the people.”
“PDP has always adopted a straight path to safeguard the interests of the people. The same path that was laid by PDP founder Mufti Muhammad Sayeed,” she said.
Terming the prevailing situation in Kashmir as “worrisome”, Mehbooba said that Kashmiris are “becoming the worst victims of violence.”
“This cycle of bloodshed can’t take us anywhere. These fidayeen attacks, IED attacks and encounters will only snatch more lives of Kashmiris and will never resolve any problem,” she said.
Mehbooba asked that when gun and violence couldn’t resolve any issue for the past 30 years, then how these could help the people of the state at present.
“We need to realise that the gun has only killed Kashmiris. From the one side a Kashmiri policeman is killed and from the other, a Kashmiri militant. We need to focus on mutual dialogue. Even the Line of Control trade and bus service were the outcome of mutual dialogue and ceasefire between the two sides,” she said.
During her speech, Mehbooba raised slogans including ‘nabandook se nagoli se, baatbanegiboli se’ and ‘bar-e-sageer main amankekhatir, Hind-Pak dostizarorihai’.
Hailing the role of her party workers, Mehbooba said that they have “faced tribulations” and that she is “committed to help them on every front.”
“My father has advised me to help every single party worker as he could not get much time to help you. Firstly God, and then I will take care of you,” she told the party workers.
The Chief Minister regretted loss of lives on the borders during shelling, consequent inconvenience to border people and a general insecurity among people of the two countries about each other.
“For how long should humanity be allowed to bleed? The leadership of both the countries should rise to the occasion and change the hate-mongering between the two sides into a peace narrative,” she said.
She said that this was the main objective to stitch the alliance for government formation in the state with BJP and “my government would continue to pursue this goal with all seriousness.”
The Chief Minister said that her father was the “architect of a vision and mission whose sole objective was to get Jammu and Kashmir out of the miseries of times and ensure prosperous and peaceful times for its people.”
She said that the “vision” and “philosophy” of the late leader is “becoming more relevant with every passing day as the situation in the sub-continent obtains.”
Mehbooba said that she fulfilled the promise of withdrawal of cases against youth and go for regularisation of 60,000 casual and daily-rated workers. She said that she has secured “adequate financial assistance” from the government of India “which would change the developmental scenario in the state and create huge employment opportunities.” But, she said, all this “requires a peaceful atmosphere.”
Many works could not be executed in 2016 due to unrest and unfortunately the funds got lapsed, she said.
Earlier, Mehbooba along with her colleagues, paid tributes to Sayeed and laid wreaths at his grave at Dara Shikohpark. They also offered ‘fateha’ prayers there.
In his 52-year-long political career, Sayeed, who died at all-India institute of medical sciences New Delhi on January 7, 2016, served as Chief Minister of J&K twice—from 2002 to 2005—while his second tenure started from March 1, 2015. He was a Congressman till 1997 and served as union tourism minister and home minister before launching the PDP in 1997.
PDP VOWS TO ‘REALISE MUFTI’S VISION’
MEANWHILE, the ruling People’s Democratic Party on Sunday reaffirmed its pledge to “advance the vision” of the party’s founder, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, “to take the state out of political instability and related woes.”
In a statement, a PDP spokesman said that a huge number of workers who had gathered in Dara Shikohpark at Bijbehara on the second death anniversary of Sayeed “extended their unconditional support to the party president Mehbooba Mufti.”
Mehbooba appreciated the “resilience” of PDP workers and said that the party is passing through testing times, particularly after it forged the alliance with BJP for government formation in the state, the spokesman said.
“We will be vindicated as the people will soon reap the dividends of our decision,” she said.
A similar function was also held at Deshera ground Jammu to commemorate Sayeed’s second death anniversary.