SRINAGAR: Maintaining that war is never an option to resolve the issues, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Tuesday pitched for amicable relations between India and Pakistan to fight the poverty and economic deprivation plaguing the region while underlining the need of a bilateral dialogue to resolve the issues.
“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,” the Chief Minister said while addressing a function organized at SKICC here today in connection with the launch of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) at SKICC here.
Under PMUY, 5 crore free LPG connections will be provided to BPL families across the country during the next three years. For Jammu and Kashmir, a target of 35 lakh connections has been set under PMUY out of which 1 lakh connections area to be provided during next 15 days, an official spokesperson said this evening.
“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 Pathankote incident shattered that process,” she said.
The Chief Minister said, “as in any violent situation, the womenfolk 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 (Bihari Vajpayee) understood Mufti Sahab’s point of view and started CBMs which ushered the state in a new era of peace and prosperity,” she added.
The Chief Minister said her Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), of which she is the president, entered into the 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 leader among Kashmiris,” she said.
Hitting out at the opposition for targeting the coalition government over “petty” issues, the Chief Minister said, “the same parties, who want to keep the pot boiling in Kashmir, sold their mandate is past purely in order 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.
The Chief Minister said the recommendations made by the Prime Minister’s Working Groups “offer resolutions to every problem” in all the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir, including talks with Pakistan and return of power projects.
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 Chief Minister 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.
The Chief Minister also expressed dismay over the non-participation of various leaders in the region in the upcoming SAARC summit in Islamabad.
“It is unfortunate that while other countries are forging new economic ties, the SAARC countries are going in the reverse direction,” she said. The Chief Minister said “violence has no place” in modern societies.
“Those societies who lionize 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.
Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of State in PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh, Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh and Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali also addressed the gathering.
Earlier, the Chief Minister distributed documents of LPG connections among some of the poorest women who had come to attend the function from all parts of Kashmir. Under the scheme, around one lakh women from BPL families will get free LPG connections over the course of next month.
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