Hope new govt carries forward peace initiatives: Mufti

Anantnag : Opposition PDP Sunday expressed hope that the new government in New Delhi would carry forward the peace process started by Atal Bihari Vajpayee government with Pakistan in the interests of the people of the region.
“I hope the new government at the Centre would carry forward the peace process with Pakistan in the interest of the people of the region,” PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said.
“The subcontinent’s turbulent history makes it imperative for both India and Pakistan to resolve their mutual conflicts and forge a strong alliance towards achieving the desired level of human development and economic prosperity,” he said.
The PDP patron was addressing election rallies in Noorabad and Dooru assembly segments here in south Kashmir’s Anantnag Parliamentary constituency which will go to polls on April 24.
Sayeed’s daughter and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti is fighting the electoral battle against sitting MP and joint candidate of NC and Congress, Mehboob Beg, from here.
Sayeed said the onus now lies on the new government in Delhi to consolidate the peace initiatives, launched by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee from Srinagar in April 2003 and carried forward by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh through cross-LoC Confidence Building Measures.
“I am confident of positive action, at the highest level, towards consolidation of the Indo-Pak peace initiatives around Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
The former chief minister said peace and progress in the subcontinent has never been linked critically with the stability in the state as it is today.
“Obviously, the future would now solely be determined by the region’s political leadership on how they cope up with the challenge amid fast-changing equations,” he said.
Sayeed said the confidence building process will have an impact on the ground only when “conducive atmosphere” is created within the state where people are in control of things and their life and dignity are not threatened.
“This would be possible only when we send strong political representatives both to the Parliament and the state legislature,” he said, asking people to vote for PDP.
He said it was heartening to note that the constituency for peace and reconciliation is becoming larger and louder in the sub-continent and as a strong regional voice PDP had played a modest role in ensuring popular legitimacy of the peace process within and outside the state.
“PDP’s ‘Self-Rule’ offers a viable framework for the amicable settlement of the Kashmir issue encompassing both the bilateral and the internal dimensions of the problem,” he said.
He asked people to compare his brief tenure as chief minister of the state with the current NC-led coalition government which was “exploiting people through emotive slogans”.
“Alongside political and economic initiatives, PDP addressed basic developmental requirements of the state as well. If people give us the mandate, in our next term, focus would be on the development of infrastructure in road communication, health, power, employment generation and social sectors,” he said.
Sayeed expressed confidence that people of Kashmir would not get carried away “by the emotive and propagandist rhetoric of NC leaders and would look for alternative representatives who would serve them better”.