Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president, Mehbooba Mufti, Tuesday, said India and Pakistan can’t live in perpetual hostility and there is no option other than peace in South Asia which can be achieved only through dialogue and reconciliation.
Addressing various wayside meetings in Tral constituency in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district, she said the PDP having emerged as an authentic voice of peace and reconciliation will use its representative character to press for resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan and resolution of all problems including Kashmir.
Mehbooba said dialogue process can’t be held hostage to hawkish voices or unforeseen interruptions. But, it is unfortunate that the Modi government has failed to reach the visionary levels of Atal Bihari Vajpayee who has set a new course for resolving South Asia’s endemic problems.
She said Jammu and Kashmir has a huge stake in peace as it is this state which has suffered as a result of continuous hostility between the two countries ever since independence. Mehbooba said the political scenario of the state has undergone a complete transformation as the parties which had traditionally thrived on animosity between the two countries and consequent instability in the state have now been rejected by the people.
She said aggressive posturing has never helped in sorting out matters and the futility of such hard-line stance has been established in the past as after every cancellation of talks we have had to come back to the negotiation table. Mehbooba said the alibi given out for calling off Foreign Secretary level talks is patently fake as the Hurriyat leaders have always been meeting the Pakistani diplomats on different occasions. “Visionary leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee had seized upon such interactions to give a new direction to Indo-Pak relations which could lead to lasting peace in the entire region,” she added.
“The PDP will carry forward proactively and assertively the political agenda that it had rolled out in 2003 which had impressed the then NDA government under Vajpayee and was later converted into one of the most successful peace initiatives in the region,” Mehbooba said.
The PDP president, who represents South Kashmir in the Lok Sabha, said her party opposes escalation along borders and the Line of Control (LoC) and wants strengthening of ceasefire along with progress on other Confidence Building Measures (CBMs). Mehbooba said people in New Delhi and Islamabad don’t realize that every bullet or mortar shell fired across the border hits someone from Kathua to Karnah to Kargil in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions. “We are fed-up of this constant war which takes a heavy toll of our people and their interests and we are sure that with the support of the people PDP would strengthen the forces of peace and defeat those who thrive on human misery,” she added.
Mehbooba said the people living in the far-off areas like Tral have suffered immensely over last 25 years of turmoil in the state and the PDP has a comprehensive policy to boost the socio-economic condition of the people living in these areas.
Referring to the abysmal infrastructure conditions in Tral the PDP president said it will be the endeavour of her party to give special focus towards the area once it is voted to power. “Tral has an immense potential in tourism, horticulture, trout farming, agriculture and other allied activities and the PDP will harness it to the optimum levels for the betterment of the area,” she added.
Referring to the vast potential for tourism in Tral, Mehbooba said the area by and large is unpolluted and unaffected by the haphazard concrete constructions that have damaged many other parts of the Valley. She said the party would focus on the development of all the potential tourist destinations in the constituency which would include Shikargah, Nagbaren, Lam, Zuwistan, Narastan, Aripal and Gupkral.
Mehbooba said the people of the area have suffered a systematic neglect for many decades and deserve a special economic push to upgrade the infrastructure and generate avenues of employment for the local youth. She said the PDP would take up the construction of Tral-Pahalgam road via Batnoor and construction of Syedaabad-Khrew road. She said this would open up more economic and employment opportunities for the area.