Mehbooba asks youth to stay away from gun, adopt democratic means

File Photo of Mehbooba Mufti

Asserting that dialogue is the only way forward to resolve the Kashmir issue, Peoples Democratic Party president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday appealed to the youth to “stay away from the gun culture and adopt a democratic approach to fight for their rights.”

Mufti was addressing a gathering during a membership drive at party headquarters and said India and Pakistan will have to hold talks for the resolution of all outstanding issues, including the problem of Jammu and Kashmir.

Speaking with media persons on the sidelines of the function, Mehbooba said that “any movement with guns ought to fail”. She said this is the reason that she has been time and again appealing to the Kashmiri youth not to lose their lives due to bullets. “If we want to resolve the Kashmir issue, we need to follow a democratic way. Guns are not the solution and I appeal to youth to stay away from guns and not to lose their life to bullets,” Mehbooba said.

Mufti said the SAARC summit should be held so that the issues between the two neighbouring countries are resolved. “We are hopeful that the Prime Minister will go to Pakistan as there is no other way besides dialogue to resolve the issues,” Mufti said.

“As SAARC summit is set to be held in Pakistan, we hope our Prime Minister will go there as there is no other way besides dialogue to resolve the issues,” Mehbooba said.

Terming the decision taken by the Government of India on August 5, 2019 “unacceptable”, Mehbooba said that Jammu and Kashmir’s special status has to be restored if New Delhi cares about the people of the region.

“Our party will continue to struggle for the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. We do not accept the government’s decision of revoking it,” Mehbooba said. “There is no point for the BJP to get upset if we are seeking the restoration of our identity. It is India who gave us the special status, not Pakistan.” Mehbooba said.

Commenting on the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), Mehbooba said that the alliance has a “major role to play to talk about the issues of J&K people.”

“If PAGD is not there then who will talk about the issues of J&K people. Dr Farooq Abdullah’s health condition was not good, thus no meeting was held so far,” Mehbooba said. Regarding the delimitation process in J&K, Mehbooba said that the central government will always try to keep the “power of J&K into their hands so that they can take any decision vis-à-vis Jammu and Kashmir directly from Delhi”. She accused that the central government wants to execute their decisions without the interference of the local government in J&K and doesn’t want elections to be conducted soon. Mufti said PDP has always played a role in ensuring peace in Jammu and Kashmir, saying that the party’s aim is to make J&K a bridge for peace in South Asia and wants J&K to become a model of peace in South Asia.