Observing that decision of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to invite heads of SAARC countries in the oath taking ceremony of his government was a bold step to improve relations with neighbouring countries, patron of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today Jammu and Kashmir should be developed as role model for SAARC countries.
“Jammu and Kashmir, which is bone of contention between India and Pakistan should be developed as bridge to normalize relations between two countries”, Mufti said, while addressing a public meeting at Rajouri in which PDP patron introduced party candidates announced for Assembly elections for the four seats of Rajouri district. According to a statement, he said that new government at New Delhi will have to address Kashmir issue and to improve relations with Pakistan. He was of the opinion that things have started falling in place for rejuvenation of peace process with Pakistan with resolution of Kashmir as an important component of that. He said J&K would be the biggest beneficiary of the peace process that was started in 2003 but remained on back burner for many years. “It was all due to cooperation and support of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that peace was restored in this regime”, he said and added that healing touch policy started by the previous PDP led Government in the State was endorsed by the previous NDA Government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee Pleading for giving a push to cross LoC relations through trade and travel, Mufti said the beginning made on this crucial front has laid down the ground rules for establishment of an Economic Free Zone across the LoC which would open up immense opportunities of employment. Demanding opening of more routes on LoC and International Border (IB) Mufti said “Our vision is that any resident of erstwhile J&K should be able to visit anywhere without the slightest problems. LoC should become line of cooperation and not mere control”, he said. Reiterating resolve of his party to make Kashmir as bridge between two countries to restore lasting peace in this region, he said, “Though the entire population of the sub-continent has suffered due to the prolonged conflict and armed confrontation between the two neighbouring countries the brunt of such enmity has been borne by the hapless people of Jammu and Kashmir. The people living in the borders areas have in particular been the victims of conflicts, having been frequently uprooted from their hearths and homes”. Reminded the gathering that it was during the regime of PDP that peace was restored on the borders, Mufti said, “the ceasefire, announced during PDP regime, has brought much relief to the people living in the border areas besides paving way for pursuing the dialogue process between the two countries”. “The peace process, despite frequent disruption and its slow pace, had brought hopes in the lives of millions of people in the two countries”, he said and reminded that gathering that the PDP had pioneered the process of peace and reconciliation. Maintaining that peace is imperative for development, Mufti sought support of the people to take the peace and reconciliation process to its logical conclusion. PDP patron said that his party has road map to address problems of all sections of the society. “Addressing issues related to youth of Jammu and Kashmir is biggest challenge”, he said and announced that PDP would formulated a comprehensive and exclusive agenda for youth. Mufti reminded that gathering that it was during the regime of PDP that prestigious Baba Ghulam Shah Budshah (BGSB) University was opened at Rajouri. “It is my desire that this University should emerge as centre of knowledge in this sub-continent”, he said and also promised to make Mughal road as all weather track which will remain open throughout the year for traffic.