‘Interlocutor’s appointment major step to sustain dialogue in J&K’

JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday said that appointment of Special Representative by the Centre is a major step to sustain dialogue in the state. Terming dialogue as the only way ahead, the Chief Minister said, “appointment of Sharma, with the rank of Cabinet Secretary, as interlocutor last year was a major decision to undertake sustained dialogue in the State.” Speaking on Motion of Thanks on Governor’s Address in the Legislative Assembly, she hoped that people from different shades of opinion would join the consultation process initiated by Mr Sharma and it moves ahead with positivity. Clarifying points raised by some opposition members in this regard, she said the mandate given to him is clear and categorical. “He has been appointed to carry forward the dialogue process in the State in a sustained manner,” she said adding that the need of the hour is to get the State out of the vicious cycle of violence. She appealed to all shades of opinion in the State and the Country to come forward and play their role in getting Jammu & Kashmir out of uncertainties and bloodshed. Welcoming the reports of recent meeting of National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan, Mufti said she wishes normalisation of relations between the two countries adding that she wants the State to become a bridge of faith and trust between the two countries. She said Jammu and Kashmir has a strategic location which should be exploited for positive and gainful results. “Why can’t we be gateway to Central Asia. We should be part of the Silk Route. Let us explore the opportunities of Tashkant, Kashgar, Iran etc. which have been the historic routes through which Islam came to Kashmir,” she said. “It was this tolerant Islam which groomed us to think on rational and humanitarian lines while deciding our fate in 1947. Let us go back to our routes,” she said. For their social inclusion and integration, the Chief Minister said the pellet victims whose vision got impaired were given financial assistance and even the jobs. “Unfortunate, it should have not happened. We tried to rehabilitate them. We are still on it. Pellet victim Insha was given Gas agency to stand up on her feet”, she informed the House adding that these persons would be given special training in collaboration with a local institution so that they don’t have to depend on anybody for rest of their life.