Observing that Nawaz Sharif’s coming to power will script a new chapter of peace and normalcy in Indo-Pak relations, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Saturday said that strengthening of democracy in Pakistan is a positive development which would help in accelerating the process of reconciliation to solve all bilateral issues to establish lasting peace in this region.
In an obvious reference towards Nawaz Sharif’s special envoy meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday, in which the special envoy had conveyed Islamabad’s “sincere desire” to move forward on improving relations with India, Mufti emphasized: “Kashmir should be the focus of dialogue between two countries because people of Jammu and Kashmir are in the direct line of fire due to the hostility between the two neighbourers.”
Addressing a public meeting at Kupwara today, Mufti said, “Apart from discussing other bilateral issues, the Kashmir should be the priority and this issue should be discussed through humanitarian angle as residents of this region have been bearing maximum brunt of the enmity between two countries.” He added that solution of Kashmir problem is must for restoring lasting peace in this region.
“Instead of sticking to the hackneyed slogans, both the countries should have to adopt to holistic and purposeful policy to resolve all issues especially the Kashmir,” he said and hoped that this process of peace should be further accelerated because hostility between two neighbourers was neither in the interest of the two countries nor in the interests of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Stressing on the need of carrying forward and expand the process of cross-LoC cooperation and trade in J&K which was started during PDP-Congress regime, Mufti said that cross-LoC confidence building measures would help in creating a new space for reconciliation in the region. “Indo-Pak cooperation is the key to resolving the region’s problems and Kashmir would have a pivotal role in cementing those relations,” he said.
He said Kashmir can act as bridge and cement relations between India and Pakistan. “J&K should be first to reap benefits of the reconciliation between the two for everlasting relationship,” he observed.
He reiterated his demand for providing requisite facilities to ensure hassle-free cross-LoC trade and travel, and hoped that some concrete steps would be taken in this regard by both the countries.
Mufti said that the opening of cross line of control (LoC) trade was the most significant confidence building measure (CBM) that needed to be further facilitated for peace and prosperity in the region.
“I hope that both the countries would take some bold steps to further facilitate the cross-LoC trade and travel in the days to come,” he said and observed that the restrictions imposed on free movement of people and commodities had only deprived the region of the vast potential of economic activities that could have changed socio-economic conditions of the people.
Mufti stressed the need for credible banking facilities and proper communication system to harness the full potential of the trans-LoC trade. “Besides simplifying the cross LoC trade procedure, there should be free movement of people on both sides of LoC.”
Hoping that governments of both the countries would take peace process to its logical conclusion, Mufti said political leadership in the State has to play very crucial rule in the days to come.
Questioning intentions of the National Conference led government to contribute in the peace process, Mufti regretted that present regime in the State has lost it credibility due to trust deficit.
Calling upon the people to strengthen hands of PDP leadership for resolution of vexed Kashmir problem, Mufti said that country along with people of Jammu and Kashmir had invested significantly in the process so there is need of a mature and tested leadership in the State which handle the situation and carry peace process forward to its logical conclusion. “During its tenure the PDP leadership had successfully pioneered and implemented the process of peace and reconciliation”, he recalled.