SRINAGAR: Maintaining that war is never an option to resolve issues, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday pitched for amicable relations between India and Pakistan to fight poverty and economic deprivation plaguing the region.
“The two nuclear armed neighbours must cooperate in the fields of social development, including eradication of poverty, and with their growing economies and energy needs, and the need for newer, more diverse markets and trading opportunities, the future of the troubled region has to be defined by common economic interests instead of hostilities,” Mehbooba said while addressing a function organised at SKICC here to mark the launch of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in the state.
Under PMUY, 5 crore free LPG connections will be provided to BPL families across the country in the next three years. For Jammu and Kashmir, a target of 35 lakh connections has been set out of which 1 lakh connections are to be provided in the next 15 days.
“Instead of fighting wars with each other, the two countries should join hands to eradicate poverty and to address social problems plaguing the region. Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Pakistan with this message on behalf of people of J&K but the Pathankot incident shattered that process,” she said.
Mehbooba said that women have suffered the most in Jammu and Kashmir. “In Kashmir, women have become primary victims of the violent situation over the last three decades which hasn’t led us anywhere. Our party became the harbinger of peace when my father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, spoke of nursing the wounds of people when the memory of Kargil war was still afresh,” she said.
“In times of war, Mufti sahab urged India and Pakistan to get involved in talks and start a process of reconciliation. In 2002, we formed the government with Congress when NDA was ruling at the Centre. Atal Ji (Behari Vajpayee) understood Mufti sahab’s point of view and started CBMs which ushered the state into a new era of peace and prosperity,” she said.
The CM said her party entered into alliance with the BJP to take forward the mission of restoration of peace in Jammu and Kashmir. “If the Centre walks one step towards the people of Kashmir, they will respond with 10 steps, which is what made Atal ji one of the most popular Indian leaders among Kashmiris,” she said.
Hitting out at the opposition for targeting the coalition government over petty issues, the CM said the same parties, who want to keep the pot boiling in Kashmir, sold their mandate in the past to remain in power.
“Those speaking against us used to talk in the language of war when they were in power. Mufti sahab knew that PM Modi has the mandate of the entire country which was why we shook hands with BJP. We have lost count of widows and orphans. How long are we going to fight with each other?” she said.
She said while the state government had started a process of development of all the three regions, especially in the field of women empowerment, a parallel process of reconciliation must be initiated to resolve the political problem of Jammu and Kashmir.
Reacting to the reports that the Centre is in the process of reviewing the Indus Water Treaty, the CM said the agreement, while being beneficial to India and Pakistan, is not in the interest of Jammu and Kashmir. “However, if the two countries can mutually share the water resources, why not their other resources?” she said.
Mehbooba said violence has no place in modern societies. “Those societies who lionise violence as a means to end their problems are doomed. We should look at places around the world where a saga of death and destruction has unfolded and is consuming anybody and everybody,” she said.