Mehbooba Holds All Party Meet


Srinagar: An All Party Meeting called to discuss the unrest in Kashmir Valley on Thursday favoured “inclusive engagement of all the stakeholders” to carry forward the process of peace and reconciliation in Jammu and Kashmir.

The marathon five-hour-long meeting also called for a national initiative to address problems confronting the state even as the main opposition National Conference boycotted it. The NC termed its outcome as a mere “eyewash”, saying nothing was achieved to bring relief for civilians in the state.

Earlier addressing the meet Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti called for taking all the stakeholders on board as part of a politically-inclusive agenda to address the problems confronting Jammu and Kashmir.

She also called for reviving the dialogue process with Pakistan to ensure peace and stability in the region, an official spokesperson said this evening.

“The country’s political leadership shall have to take on board all the stakeholders and pursue an agenda which is politically-inclusive and developmentally-intensive to address the challenges confronting Jammu and Kashmir internally and externally,” the Chief Minister said.

Dy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh, Minister for Forests, Choudhary Lal Singh, Minister for Education, Naeem Akhtar, Minister for CA&PD, Choudhary Zulfkar Ali, Minister for Social Welfare, Sajad Gani Lone, Minister for Youth Services and Sports, Imran Raza Ansari, Minister for Industries, Chandar Parkash Ganga, Minister for Animal and Sheep Husbandry, Abdul Ghani Kohli, Advisor to Chief Minister, Prof Amitabh Mattoo, leaders of various political parties, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Navin Kumar Choudhary and Commissioner Secretary Law, Mohammad Ashraf  Mir were also present at the meeting.

The Chief Minister said the State Government would act as a facilitator for resolving the problems and challenges confronting Jammu and Kashmir if tangible steps are taken to reach out to all the stakeholders.

“A new course for Jammu and Kashmir can be chalked out only by reaching out to all the stakeholders including the youth who have to pay a huge price because of the uncertainties plaguing the State for the past more than six decades,” she said and added that alternatives shall also have to be found to existing crowd control methods to ensure that the youth don’t get killed or maimed in such situations.

“I am especially pained by the grievous eye injuries caused to some youth because of the pellets guns,” she said and added that this cruel method of crowd control will have to be done away with, sooner the better.

The Chief Minister hailed the commitment of the doctors, the paramedical staff and the nurses in reaching out to the needy amid prevailing crisis situation.

“I salute the dedication of our doctors, paramedical staff and the nurses for working with great commitment amid trying circumstances and saving as many lives,” she said and added that the government would provide every possible help to the injured so that they can to live their life as productive citizens. She broke down while talking about the deceased and the injured.

The Chief Minister said the people of Jammu and Kashmir can’t live with the pain and suffering forever and tangible measures shall have to be taken to address their concerns and aspirations.

“The suffering voices of people of J&K shall have to be heard and substantive confidence building measures taken to address the alienation and reduce trust deficit,” she said and added that a beginning in this regard can be made by implementing the recommendations of the five Working Groups constituted by the then Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh in 2006 and reiterated in the PDP-BJP ‘Agenda of Alliance’.

Ms Mehbooba said the recommendations of these Working Groups comprehensively deal with almost all the aspects of the problems confronting Jammu and Kashmir including Centre-State relations, strengthening relations across LoC, Confidence Building Measures across segments of society in J&K, Economic Development of Jammu and Kashmir and ensuring Good Governance.

The Chief Minister said her Government strongly believes that nothing is valid and should be happening for Jammu & Kashmir except with the active involvement of its people.

“However, the people from all shades of the political opinion shall have to evolve a consensus on a pragmatic and workable solution of the problems confronting the State in the interest of peace and stability,” she said and added that the time has come to strike a new benchmark in light of the global and regional realities for the resolution of the State’s problems.

Expressing anguish over the loss of precious lives and injuries in on-going law and order situation, the Chief Minister said while the uncertainties and recurrent turmoil has adversely affected almost all the spheres of society in the State, the youth become its specific target as the violence has consumed nearly an entire young generation.

She said the society can’t afford to lose more youth now, and measures have to be taken to safeguard their lives and future.

“The need, therefore, is not only to safeguard the precious lives of the youth but to create increasing opportunities for them to develop their personality and their functional capability and make them economically productive and socially useful,” she said and added that such opportunities have to be created on a large scale, to cover a wide spectrum of areas of the human endeavour.

Reiterating her Government’s resolve to work for the larger welfare of the State’s youth, the Chief Minister said the Government is working on a policy to have productive role for the State’s youth, which would be further concretized through various practical initiatives.

“I strongly believe that the youth of Jammu & Kashmir have the right to seek meaningful employment, freedom of expression, participation in decision-making that affects their lives, and protection from socio-economic and political exploitation,” she said and added this requires a determined effort of lending economic, social and political support to the young people, both men and women equally.

The Chief Minister expressed gratitude to the leaders of all the political parties for their presence in the meeting to deliberate over the prevailing situation.

She, however, expressed dismay over the non-participation of the National Conference in the meeting.

“I had spoken to NC Working President, Omar Abdullah myself last evening and requested him to attend the meeting,” she said and added that the presence of the leaders of the largest opposition in the State would have added value and substance to the meeting.

The Chief Minister briefed the meeting in detail about the situation and the measures being taken on political and governance fronts to restore calm. She sought the cooperation of all the stakeholders in restoring peace in the State to prevent further loss of lives.

Leaders of various political parties including Pradesh Congress Committee president, G A Mir, CPI (m) State Secretary, M Y Tarigami, Panthers Party president, Harshdev Singh, Peoples Democratic Front leader, Hakim Mohammad Yasin, Democratic Nationalist Party leader, Ghulam Hassan Mir, Lok Jan Shakti Party leader, Sanjay Saraf, Awami Ittehad Party leader, Er Rashid, CPI leader, A R Tukroo, BJP State President Sat Sharma and others also spoke in the meeting.

Cutting across the divide, the political leaders assured their full cooperation in restoring calm and peace and the state. “All of us are concerned over the prevailing situation in Kashmir, especially the loss of human lives and it should be our endeavour to contribute towards restoration of peace, they said.

Earlier, the meeting observed two minutes silence to pay homage to those who lost their lives in the law and order situation prevailing in the State since 8 July 2016.

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