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Monday, February 29, 2016

Mehbooba asks Delhi to involve Pakistan in 2002-type Kashmir initiative

‘I won’t accept CM’s chair that denies PDP role in peace-building’

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

JAMMU, Feb 28: In her first open-air speech at a public rally after her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s death on January 7th, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti claimed on Sunday that she would not accept a puppet Chief Minister’s chair that would deny her party a 2002-type role in peace-building and promoting friendship between India and Pakistan. Asking New Delhi to engage Islamabad in a political process, she said late Mufti’s 2002 initiative of Indo-Pakistan friendship was “in danger today”.

“Jammu and Kashmir is not about governance alone. The state is entangled in assorted political and economic complexities both on internal and external fronts, which need to be tackled with resolve through holistic measures to ensure sustainable peace and stability in the State,” Mehbooba said while addressing a PDP workers convention at headquarters of Anantnag district in her home constituency of South Kashmir. She was there to carry forward her party’s membership drive which she launched from Srinagar on last Sunday.

“There’s going to be no peace until India and Pakistan halt their confrontation, until they sit together and respect each other. An atmosphere of sustained mistrust won’t yield anything positive. Today, I don’t see NC or Congress as a challenge to PDP but the fact that Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s 2002 Indo-Pakistan friendship has fallen in danger. The essence of my father’s initiative was friendship between the two countries. It led to ceasefire on the borders and opening of roads through LoC. That’s in danger today. Another challenge to PDP is the unemployment of thousands of our youths. Many of them are picking up gun”, Mehbooba said with a reference to the recent fidayeen attack and three-day-long encounter between militants and security forces at EDI complex.

“I am not an ambitious politician who would be hankering after power for getting the status of Chief Minister. I am not dying to see four flags on my Chief Ministerial car and a fleet of Ministers following me with pomp and show. Let it be clear that I am not going to accept the Chief Minister’s chair that doesn’t benefit our youth, that doesn’t ensure development and that denies a 2002-type role to the PDP”, Mehbooba, leader of the single largest party with 28 MLAs and the Chief Ministerial candidate, said.  

“While on J&K’s internal front there are issues of systemic political and economic disempowerment, security concerns, mounting alienation, sense of deprivation, wanton exploitation of state’s natural resources, unemployment, social issues  and unaccountability, on the external front there are issues with Pakistan,” she said and added that no government in J&K would succeed or make a mark unless a holistic approach is adopted by the Centre and the State Government to address all these issues with a concerted effort and with tangible measures.

She said unfortunately the situation in the State started sliding back into uncertainty following the reversal of the development, resolution and reconciliation process set off between 2002 and 2005. She asserted that PDP’s alliance with Congress in 2002 and with BJP in 2015 was guided solely by the “agenda of peace, development and reconciliation” in Jammu and Kashmir.  

“That was our challenge and that will remain so. If we really want to turnaround the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, we will have to not only involve Pakistan in a sustained dialogue but at the same time take some bold political and economic initiatives on the internal front to address the concerns of the State’s people and do away with the past injustices done with them,” she said and added unless such measures are taken no government whether formed by PDP, NC, Congress or BJP is going to make any difference to the people especially at a time when alienation and cynicism has again started taking roots especially among the State’s young population.

Mehbooba said gun and violence were no solution to any problem as the gory era of bloodshed had only brought death and destruction to the State leaving behind a trail of tragedies in almost every family. “We have already seen almost a generation of youth falling prey to the senseless violence and I urge the gun-yielding youth to take cue from the accomplishments of their counterparts and make a mark in the academic and professional fields instead of falling prey to the machinations of the proponents of death and destruction,” she said.


[Published in today's STATE TIMES]

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