‘Agenda of Alliance’ Has Parts of ‘Self Rule’ In It, says Chief Minister

KL NEWS NETWORK

SRINAGAR

CM Ms Mehbooba Mufti
CM Ms Mehbooba Mufti

Chief Minister Ms Mehbooba Mufti Saturday said the Agenda of Alliance is not “event-related” but a “process” which would be implemented through “tangible initiatives” at political, economic and administrative fronts.

Mehbooba Mufti was speaking in the assembly in her maiden speech as Leader of the House.

“We have demonstrated that during our brief stint in power between 2002 and 2005,” Ms Mufti said. “We will continue to pursue our core ideals with unflinching consistency in our present tenure.”

Ms Mufti said the issues mentioned in this CMP have already been identified and approved by various Round Table Conferences convened by then Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and by PM’s Working Groups on J&K to which all political parties were members.

“We have all agreed that India and Pakistan must start dialogue. We all want the defence forces to return our land and pay up rent for the lands under their occupation. We want banking facilities on LoC and power projects from NHPC. But you have to give me some time for all this to happen,” she said.

Reacting to the opposition debate on the Self Rule, PDP’s political bible, Ms Mufti said it is the guiding principle for the resolution of J&K’s problems. PDP, she said, would work towards “facilitating” closer ties across the LoC, making the borders irrelevant, reviving the state’s traditional connectivity with outside world to pave the way for economic and social integration of the region through a common economic market.

She extensively quoted from the then Prime Minister’s speeches to bring home the point that ingredients of the Self Rule were always a priority with Delhi.

Ms Mufti said the cross-LoC CBMs, political, economic and governance issues concerning J&K, as encompassed in the Self Rule, have been duly taken care of the ‘Agenda of Alliance’.

“Mufti saheb wanted to open the doors of J&K for imports and exports,” Ms Mufti said. “He wanted to bridge the divide between people of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan administered Kashmir. We had to take the cross LoC trade and people-to-people contacts to the next level.”

Ms Mufti insisted that better relations with Pakistan are vital for J&K. When Mufti Mohammad Sayeed came into power in 2002, she said Hurriyat leaders were given political space and they were allowed to hold rallies across the nook and corner of Jammu and Kashmir.

She regretted that UPA-II abandoned the reconciliation processes started by the government between 2002 and 2005 and all the CBMs were put on the back burner.

“That environment was created by Mufti saheb. But 2008 happened, then 2010 and now Handwara. If the processes started in 2002 would have been followed through 2009 to 2014, J&K would have been a different state. We will start the processes again. I am living my father’s dream. But in the larger interest of J&K, we will have to work together,” she said.

India and Pakistan shall have to sit across the table and find resolution to the contentious issues in the larger interest of peace and stability in the region, Ms Mufti maintained.

“We have to unshackle ourselves from the legacies of the past. Think ahead and have confidence in our self, our institutions and above all our people,” she said. She said the two countries can’t run away from the negotiations for too long as such a negative approach will only add to the miseries of the people in the region in general and J&K in particular.

“For settling disputes and ensuring peace and prosperity in the region, a forward–looking political and economic awakening has to dawn at the political leadership in our neighbourhood as well,” Ms Mufti said.

Calling for uninterruptable dialogue between India and Pakistan, she said the people of J&K bear the brunt of hostilities between the two countries. India and Pakistan should come out of their aggressive politics and start exchange programs of students, doctors, scientists and artists which will boost relations between the two countries.

“Mufti Sahab wanted to improve the relations between India and Pakistan in the interest of the welfare of J&K and its people. After 2001 Parliament attack, our borders were tense. I travelled in border areas and comforted people. It is our misfortune that the peace process started by Atal Bihari Vajpayee with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was not carried forward,” she said and added that unfortunately the goodwill generated by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s Lahore visit was washed away by the dastardly attack on Pathankote air base.

Urging Pakistan to weed out the menace of terrorism, the Chief Minister said India and Pakistan should cooperate with each other on security issues. “The biggest enemy of Pakistan is terrorism. Now they have to carry out drone strikes against their own people. School children are getting killed in that country. The country has to shake hands with India for prosperity of South Asia,” she said.

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