Maintaining that people of Jammu and Kashmir have huge stakes in peace and stability in the region, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would continue its efforts to "seek larger political consensus for the peaceful resolution of the issues facing the State."
"There has to be a larger political consensus on how to meet the challenges confronting Jammu and Kashmir and make this a turning point in the State's turbulent history so that our future generations have not to suffer the miseries of violence and bloodshed," Mehbooba, who is also the President of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said, addressing party workers from district Ganderbal here.
Mehbooba said PDP has, right from its inception, "advocated an end to the violent and confrontational means and opted for process of dialogue and engagement for the peaceful settlement of the problems of the State and ending the miseries of its people. PDP strongly believes that the fast-changing equations in the region offer the country's leadership, not just a challenge, but also a great opportunity to take a giant step towards making India more at peace not only with its neighbors, but also with itself."
She urged Islamabad to take concrete confidence building measures towards reviving the peace and reconciliation process in the region to end the miseries of the people.
Reiterating that there is no alternative to reconciliation, Mehbooba said the people in all the regions of the State suffer enormous human tragedies and economic losses because of the hostility in the region.
"While people living along the borders in Jammu region suffer and live under the constant threat of cross-border shelling, the people in Kashmir valley are suffering because of the continued internal strife and recurrent violence," she said, and added that peace along the borders in Jammu region and within the mainland in Kashmir is "key to development and progress as had happened between 2002 and 2005."
"There was not only peace along the borders from Kathua to Kargil, during that golden era, but the situation in Kashmir valley had also started transforming positively after witnessing a long and gloomy era of death and destruction," she said, and added that "unfortunately due to the reversal of the peace and reconciliation process after 2008, uncertainty again returned to haunt the people of the State."
"We shall have to ponder over the emerging situation in the State and go deep into the reasons for mounting alienation especially among the educated youth," Mehbooba said and added that "concrete measures shall have to be taken to address the causes of alienation and cynicism and at the same time revive the process of intra-state and inter-state reconciliation and confidence building."
Mehbooba said the Kashmir issue should not be seen through the security prism alone and the country's political leadership needs to invest in J&K's peace and own and acknowledge the pain and sufferings of its people. "People of Jammu and Kashmir should not be given to feel that their dignity is being undermined," she said.
Mehbooba said despite passing through the darkest era of its history, the main source of the State's confidence is the substantial potential of building upon its young and enterprising human resource. "It is heartening to note that even after having gone through the most difficult times, our young boys and girls are doing us proud in whatever field they take a plunge," she said and added that the J&K's young population has "suffered immensely due to the conflict and our youth now need to connect with the larger world outside to grab the opportunities available to their counterparts elsewhere."