Kashmir Can Work as Bridge Between India, Pak: Mehbooba

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While resolving to launch a massive campaign for implementation of the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) announced by India and Pakistan, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti has said that Jammu and Kashmir can work as a bridge between the two neighbours for forging friendly relations.

“Kashmir issue is the main reason for discord between India and Pakistan. Leaving the issue out of the ambit of dialogue or CBMs will not be acceptable to the people of the state”, said the PDP President while speaking to media persons in a hurriedly called press conference at her Gupkar Road residence here.

She said the people of the state have been suffering due to animosity between India and Pakistan for decades and leaving them out of the ambit of the process amounts to ignoring and neglecting them.

“Since the wrath of animosity between the two countries has been borne by the people of the state, they cannot be deprived of the dividends of peace and friendship”, Mehbooba said.

The PDP president said that it was the positive approach of her party and the then state government which paved way for Confidence Building Measures in 2003 and convinced the two hostile neighbours to restart the dialogue process. “It was during our government that the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee extended a hand of friendship towards Pakistan from Kashmir itself”, she added.

“It was due to the tireless efforts of our party that the routes across the Line of Control were opened for people to people contact apart from initiating the Cross LoC trade.”, she said. However, she said all the good will created during the PDP led government has been wasted.

Mehbooba, while demanding provision of banking and communication facilities for the cross LoC trade said that the present dispensations across the border have since failed to move forward on the key CBM. “Our party has offered many sacrifices for opening the cross LoC routes”, she added.

“14 workers of PDP were killed in 2004 Uri March and another was died when traders had called for Muzafarabad March in 2008”.

Mehbooba said all the gains accrued during the PDP rule with regard to building confidence among people of the state. “Neither did we believe in harassing people nor were people detained on one pretext or the other. The present government has even jailed 11 year old kids”, she said adding that taking oppressive measures and shrinking of political space by the government can have serious consequences. “Enforcing silence on people cannot be termed as peace. Many political leaders are not allowed to pray on Fridays and Eid”, she said.

Reacting to a question on the agreement between the two countries to ease the Visa Regime, Mehbooba said the peace dividends are being reaped by others while the people of the state are suffering. (KNS)

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