KL NEWS NETWORK
Describing J&K as a ‘symbol of Indian diversity’, Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Thursday said the state holds a special place as the only Muslim majority state in the federal structure of India.
He credited former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in building confidence amongst the people in the democratic institutions of the country and ensuring free and fair elections in 2002, which saw People’s Democratic Party (PDP) emerge as a force to reckon with, an official statement said this evening.
The Chief Minister was addressing a gathering, after inaugurating the Pahalgam Club, in South Kashmir’s tourist resort today.
Favouring dialogue between India and Pakistan for ushering in lasting peace in the region, the Chief Minister said gun never has and never will be able to overpower the peace loving people of the state. “If India has to emerge as a major global power, it will have to maintain friendly relations with all its neighbours, including Pakistan,” he said, adding Jammu & Kashmir “enjoys a special status guaranteed under the Indian Constitution”.
On the issue of forging alliance with BJP for forming Government in the state, Mufti Sayeed said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is totally focused on the development of Jammu & Kashmir. “I must say the Prime Minister has a vision for overall and equitable development of the state,” he said, while resolving to make J&K a model state of the country.
Hailing the farsightedness of the leaders during India’s freedom struggle, the Chief Minister said, “the future of the state lies with India, as Mahatma Gandhi saw a ray of hope in J&K when the entire country was burning in a communal frenzy in the days leading to independence.”
“J&K is a bouquet of three distinct cultures where people of all faiths have lived in complete harmony for decades,” he said, while hailing the state’s unique multiculturalism.
Referring to the difficult times the state fell upon during the last two decades, the Chief Minister said the basic elements of brotherhood and mutual coexistence have remained unscathed all these years, which is a tribute to the people of the state. He recalled with sadness the days of turmoil which forced people to leave their home and hearth. “I look forward to the day when those sons of soil will return to their native place,” he hoped.
Describing peace as a prerequisite for development of the state, Mufti Sayeed recalled his initiative of uniting the divided families across the Line of Control in 2005 by launching the cross-LoC bus service. “I still remember how people became nostalgic and looked with tearful eyes when the first bus arrived in Srinagar from Muzaffarbad,” he stated.
Hailing the people for their peace-loving nature and their flexibility in adapting to best practices from other cultures, the Chief Minister also referred to the famed cuisine and handicraft, which were introduced in the Valley during Hazrat Shah Hamdan (RA)’s time and which have remained part of their culture ever since.