Time has come to resolve Kashmir, respond to Imran’s peace offer, Mehbooba to PM

Srinagar, July 28: Making a fervent appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to respond positively to offer of friendship extended by Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, who is set to become next Prime Minister of Pakistan, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday said time has come to resolve the Kashmir issue without delay.
She reiterated protection of Article 370 and 35A from any assault.
Addressing her party workers at SK Park near here on the eve of PDP’s 19th foundation day, she appealed to Mr Modi to respond to Imran’s call for sustainable dialogue process between the two countries at the earliest.
“The call of dialogue issued by PTI chief Imran in his victory speech is a vital opportunity for both the countries to remove the pending issues amicably. Prime Minister Modi must respond to this call with utmost positivity,” she said, adding that this opportunity needs to be grabbed at the earliest so that the dream of a peaceful South Asia is realised without any further delay.
Mufti asserted that after the 2014 polls, the government in Jammu and Kashmir was not formed for the petty power but in the larger interests of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and get the people out of the squalid conditions.
The government was formed to ensure the peace returns and the perturbed people of the state could heave a sigh of relief from bloodshed, mayhem and uncertainty, said the PDP president, adding that the core motive of the PDP has always been to get India and Pakistan on table to talk peace and end the decades only conflict, the brunt of which is primarily been borne by the innocent people of the state.
The former CM also demanded that the special status accorded by the Constitution of India needs to be protected at all costs and any tinkering with it would turn the state into a veritable inferno.
She underscored the need to protect Article 370 and Article 35A from any assault, stating that the mainstream parties in the state need to speak in unison to get Jammu and Kashmir out of the vicious cycle of violence and instil enough confidence in the people so that they could scan new horizons of property and peace with eager hope.
Demanding that the Indo-Pak trade needs to be further promoted and encouraged, the PDP president said the time has come when both the countries should play a vital role in transforming Jammu and Kashmir into a bridge of friendship between the two countries.
She said more Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) are taken for achieving the objective. She also demanded the opening of the silk route and people to people contact between the fragmented parts of the state.
The PDP president said that when she took over the reins of government in the state, the situation was worrisome and taming it was a Herculean task. She, however, maintained that her government didn’t leave a single stone unturned to accord justice to state’s vulnerable sections.
She also recalled how the PDP government fought for justice to the victim of Rasana rape and murder case of an eight year old girl and booked the culprits as per the law of the land. She said those who committed the crime of such heinous nature need to be given exemplary punishment so that no one in future dares to commit such a devilish act.
Mufti also highlighted the major landmark achievements of development of the government, remarking that the projects that were kept in limbo by the previous regimes were executed and completed on a war-footing basis.
”Jammu and Kashmir witnessed a massive development in the sectors of education, rural development, construction of highways, roads and bridges, construction of hostels, colleges, establishment of two cluster universities in Jammu and in Srinagar, scarping of the stamp duties for women of Jammu and Kashmir and revival of the sports in all the three regions of the state,” she said.
The PDP president added that the party in unison again pledges to follow the agenda for which foundation of the PDP was laid in the year 1999 by the party founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
”And therefore, we are once again here to tell it to the world that we will follow the path and the footsteps of our beloved leader and take the state to the new scales of peace, prosperity and development,” Mufti said.
Mufti also said she “drank the cup of poison” to continue in a coalition government with the BJP out of compulsion, following her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s demise in 2016.
Mehbooba claimed that she allied with the BJP as her party legislators and senior leaders told her that it would be a “disrespect” to Sayeed if she went against his decision to form the government with the saffron party.
“Allah is witness that my politics would start and end with my father. That is the reason when he left this world, I was not ready to form the government. It took me three months…I had never thought that I will become the chief minister. I had only thought of fulfilling my father’s agenda of how to take out the people of J&K from the present situation.
“At that time, the workers, MLAs and other senior leaders told me that it was the decision taken by Mufti sahib, you will have to drink this poison and carry this fire on your head. If you don’t, it will be a disrespect to Mufti Sahib’s decision,” she said, speaking at the 19th foundation day of her party here.
Mehbooba said even when she gave her consent to government formation with the BJP, she had urged the party leaders to choose another person as the chief minister.
“These people are here. I had told them if you want to form the government, choose another leader as I am not worthy of it.
“It was the statements of assurance from leaders at the Centre, reiterating their commitment to the agenda of alliance, which compelled me to form the government,” she added.
The BJP had, on June 19, pulled out of its alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir, saying it had become impossible to continue in the government in view of the growing radicalism and terrorism in the state.