JAMMU: Praising the secular nature of Jammu region, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Saturday said the city has given shelter to thousands of Kashmiri migrants.
“I need not remind you how secular the people of Jammu are. You gave shelter to thousands of Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims who left the Valley and settled here,” she said.
“Here Hindu, Muslims have been living together for so many centuries but when some anti-social elements who exist in every community, try to divert us, we indulge in communal fights,” Mehbooba said.
Terming restoration of peace in Jammu and Kashmir as the “biggest challenge” for the state, she appealed the people to maintain communal harmony.
“I want to say that maintain brotherhood because the biggest challenge faced by Jammu and Kashmir is how to restore peace. You will say that everything is fine here (Jammu) but in Kashmir there is firing and strikes,” she said after laying the foundation stone of a multi-tier parking lot here.
She said that her government has been working hard to provide good governance and ensure there is no human rights violation.
Talking about her meeting with RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, Mehbooba said that she had requested him to open more branches of nationalized banks in far off areas of the Valley so that the youth get employability.
She also discussed about introduction of a banking system in the cross LoC trade between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan administered Kashmir (PcK).
The Chief Minister said that she has a proposal to develop Suchetgarh International Border (IB) on the patterns of Wagah Border so that “people from across the country could come and view parade there”.
Underlining her late father and former CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s vision to make Jammu an independent tourist destination, she said, “my father had a dream and he did not want Jammu to suffer the fate of Pathankot.
“He wanted Jammu to become an independent destination. He had a dream and a vision for Jammu and I assure you that his dream would be taken forward,” she said.
Replying to the questions, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the Foreign Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan and said the state will benefit immensely if the two neighbours come together and engage in a meaningful dialogue.
“I hope the two neighbours will be able to break ice so that lasting peace is established in the region,” she said.
The chief minister said Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance and added that a majority of Muslims, barring a few, believe in peaceful coexistence, including Indian Muslims.
“This is the reason why Indian Muslims are respected all over the world despite a cloud of suspicion hovering over Muslims at the global level. It pains me when I see hapless people in Syria, Libya and Pakistan being sucked into the vortex of violence for no fault of theirs,” she added.
Mufti said she was happy that despite Pathankot incident, the two countries have carried forward their engagement which indicates their commitment to firmly entrench peace in the region.
Describing terrorism as a global phenomenon, not confined to one region or nation, Mufti said countries are coming together to jointly fight the threat of terror.
“Terrorism is a global concern and is spreading its tentacles far and wide, even into Europe. I think the widening gap between rich and poor and the lack of employment opportunities are fuelling instability which we are witnessing now,” she said, while citing the example of US-Iran rapprochement after several decades.
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