Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, and People’s Democratic Party president has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to follow the steps of late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee to revive the peace process between the two neighbours.
“Peace in south Asia will only be possible if it is ensured in Jammu and Kashmir,” the PDP president said, addressing a public meeting in border district of Rajauri.
Urging Modi to extend the hand of friendship to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and pick up the peace process from where Vajpayee had to leave it, Mehbooba said, “It will usher a new era of growth and tranquillity in the two countries.”
If it’s done, the people would no longer live in constant fears and heave a sigh of relief, she said.
She said opening new roads between “divided Jammu and Kashmir” and strengthening the people-to-people contact would lower the tension across the border.
Terming dialogue and reconciliation between India and Pakistan as “inevitable for the resolution of the Kashmir issue, Mehbooba said, “The two countries need to rise above ego and exhibit the political astuteness to help realise the people’s dream of a peaceful and tranquil Jammu and Kashmir.”
Asserting that economic packages alone would not usher peace in the Valley, she said consistent and earnest efforts aimed at taking youths into confidence are needed “to stop them from going adrift”.
“The economic packages alone are not going to resolve the issue. The roads, bridges and electricity are vital for the people, but unless there is dialogue aimed at the resolution of the conflict, no relief can be ensured for the masses,” she said.
She said after the 2014 polls yielded fragmented mandate, PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed decided to form government with the BJP with “the sole motive to reincarnate the Vajpayee era” in the state and to stop the vicious cycle of unabated killings and violence.
“As I told my father that the decision to join hands with the BJP has more risks than rewards and would decline party’s popularity, he said he was ready to sacrifice everything including his life, if that resolves the decades-old conflict,” Mehbooba said.
Her father was confident that the reconciliation and dialogue would be initiated, and the measures taken during Vajpayee’s era would be replicated once again, she added.