Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday said the entire political class of the State is united in defending and preserving the special status of the State. She said recently she met leaders of all political parties in this regard and she was happy to note that there was an overwhelming consensus on the issue among all of them.
Addressing the Independence Day parade at Bakshi stadium, she said when the people of the State decided to accede to the country on the basis of shared ideals of democracy and tolerance these were the institutions like Parliament which responded positively to this thinking and Jammu & Kashmir was accorded a special status within the country’s constitutional structure.
Exuding confidence in the country’s institutions, she hoped that these institutions would continue to deliver justice to the people of Jammu & Kashmir, in the historic perspective of the State, as they have done in the past.
Terming dialogue as the only way ahead to sort out issues, the Chief Minister said if peaceful negotiations can resolve all other issues in the country why can’t these help in redressing issues in Jammu & Kashmir.
She said she was pleased to see Minister for External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj saying that dialogue is the only way ahead in resolving border disputes with China. She hoped Pakistan would also understand the need for peaceful engagement with India and the central Government would also undertake a broad based outreach treating the issues within the ambit of humanity as initiated by former Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee. She said the Agenda of Alliance of present Government has also declared that dialogue with all stakeholders in the State is the way forward.
Mehbooba Mufti said good neighborly relations between India and Pakistan are very crucial for the people of the State who bear the brunt of any bitterness in relations between the two countries. She said due to the recent tension along the LoC, hundreds of people living close to the borders in the State had to migrate to safer places. Many of them, she said, lost their lives, schools in these areas got closed and a lot of them were rendered homeless. For how long it would continue, she asked.
Describing Jammu & Kashmir as the land of saints and sages, the Chief Minister said it was Hazrat Shah-e-Hamdan (R.A.) who brought along hundreds of artisans who trained the people here in skill development in various fields. Hazrat Sheikh Noor-ud-Wali (R.A.) taught and practiced brotherhood, amity and harmony to our people, she added. She said Nature has bestowed the State with huge natural resources in the form of water, forests and scenic beauty which once harnessed optimally would not only usher in a developmental revolution in the State but also suffice the needs of country in terms of power, irrigation and other sectors.
She appealed parents to guide their wards to take up pens instead of stones and guns. “Let us ponder, how is it that the guns manufactured somewhere far off find their use in every Muslim society. Why should it happen? Why can’t our youngsters be put in productive, creative streams rather than in this confusion”, she said in her address.
Later, the Chief Minister took salute on the march past by contingents of various wings of J&K Police, Home Guards and other wings besides students from various schools.
Students from various educational institutions presented a variety of cultural items which were liked by the audience. Members of J&K Police also presented some breathtaking daredevil items which received applause from the dignitaries.
Former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah; Chairman, Legislative Council; Haji Anayat Ali; Ministers; Advisor to Chief Minister, Prof Amitabh Mattoo; Judges of the High Court; MPs; Vice President, PDP, Muhammad Sartaj Madni; Legislators; Chief Secretary, B. B. Vyas; Director General of Police, Dr S P Vaid; Chief Information Commissioner, Khursheed Ahmad Ganai; Administrative Secretaries, senior officers of Police, Army and other Central services; heads of several Departments and a large number of people were present on the occasion.
Meanwhile, she welcomed the remark of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi about Kashmir during his Independence Day address .The Prime Minister had said that not with bullets and abuse (goli aur gaali) can the issues of Kashmir be resolved but by embracing the people with love.
In a statement, the Chief Minister said she has all along believed that dialogue and peaceful means only can help in resolving issues as the futility of violence has been established all around.
Mehbooba Mufti said the slogan-Bandook say na goli say/Baat banay gi boli say coined by her Party some 15 years ago is as relevant today as it was then.