Seeking national consensus on resolving the issues confronting Jammu and Kashmir, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President and Member Parliament, Mehbooba Mufti Tuesday called for convening a special session of the Parliament to discuss Kashmir issue.
“The recent elections have generated a new atmosphere of hope in J&K and people at large expect their representatives to give voice to their genuine concerns at the country’s largest democratic forum,” Mehbooba said while speaking on the Motion of Thanks on the President Pranab Mukherjee’s address in the Lok Sabha.
While welcoming the Centre’s resolve to ensure dignified return of Kashmiri Pandits, Mehbooba said Kashmiris have suffered immensely during the more than 20 years of turmoil and a solution to their problems must be inclusive and holistic.
“Cosmetic approach on the Kashmir issue has neither worked in the past nor will it be of any consequence in the future,” she said and added that the Government of India shall have to take all the stakeholders on board within and outside the State to work-out a lasting solution of the problem.
“I think Parliament is the most appropriate forum to discuss the problems confronting J&K and its people and it can be done only by convening a special session on Kashmir,” PDP President said and added that if the country’s leadership doesn’t shy away from discussing the issue at the international forums, there should be no harm in convening a special session of the Parliament on Kashmir.
She also called for establishing a Kashmir Affairs Ministry at the Centre to take care of the political and economic issues confronting the State. “J&K faces acute problems of development deficit and unemployment which need to be addressed with understanding and consideration,” she said.
Mehbooba said the Government of India shall have to work through tangible measures to address the trust deficit and alienation in Kashmir as no initiative is going to have any impact on the ground without the involvement of the people. She said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion in Jammu that Kashmir issue will be addressed through Insaniyat, Jamhuriyat and Kashmiriyat has to be translated into reality as otherwise people of the State would become more cynical as similar assertions made by various leaders from time to time have only proved to be political rhetoric.
Mehbooba said while the President’s address has touched upon almost all the political, economic, internal and external challenges confronting the country and has outlined a roadmap for the same, ironically there has been no mention of how to address the issues confronting J&K. “While we talk of making SAARC a vibrant forum for regional cooperation, how can we forget Kashmir that the plagued the relationship between two major regional players for the past more than six decades,” she said and added that the dream of a peaceful and stable South Asian region could be realized once Kashmir gets its due place in the larger sphere of the regional cooperation.
PDP President said that given its strategic location, Jammu and Kashmir could become a bridge for extended economic cooperation not only between India and Pakistan but beyond upto Central Asia, China and Iran. “J&K is a victim of partition and the mentality of siege people have been forced into for the past six decades will end when Kashmir is re-linked with the outside world through all the traditional routes,” she said.
Welcoming the Centre’s resolve to have zero tolerance for terrorism, Mehbooba said it should at the same time ensure zero tolerance for human rights abuses in Kashmir as the people there have suffered immense tragedies during the turmoil and they need a real healing touch to mar a new beginning with fresh hope