Dialogue With Pak ‘Key For Peace’: Mehbooba To Modi

New Delhi—Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to initiate a dialogue process with Pakistan at the earliest as the “key for peace” was with the neighbouring country.

Speaking at a function organised by a group of Kashmiri Pandits owing allegiance to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mufti said that war was never an option.

“Reconciliation is the mantra which we need to follow and therefore, I request Modi ji to engage with Pakistan,” she said.

“We need to take an assurance from the neighbouring country that they should not be allowing their soil to be used against India. After all, we all know that the key for peace is in Pakistan. They have been pushing terrorists into the state,” she said.

The chief minister said that efforts should be made for changing the slogan of “Azadi” in the Kashmir Valley.

“This can be achieved. Why can’t Jammu and Kashmir be a gateway to the central Asian countries.

“If the CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) is a possibility, so can be this. If new roads are opened, the slogan of Azadi will automatically change,” she said at a gathering of around 200 Kashmiri Pandits, who had to leave their homes after the onset of the militancy in 1990.

She advised people not to watch debates on television channels which only foment hatred between the two warring nations as well as the Muslims of Kashmir and the rest of the country.

“Those, sitting in studios and pontificating the nation, are only interested in the TRP ratings and not finding solution to the problem.

“Many a times I wonder who are these people who talk so much on television. Are they even aware of the ground realities,” she said.

Mufti said that every second day daggers are out and a war hysteria is created.

“If a war had to happen, it would have in 2001 when the armies of the two nation were in an eye-ball-to-eye ball contact for over a year,” she said.

“War (between India and Pakistan) will not happen. After the attack on Parliament in 2001, the armies of both the countries (India and Pakistan) were deployed along borders for a year, if the war did not take place back then, it will not take place now as both the nations know it will be disastrous (for both),” she said.

She also appealed for a reconciliation between the Kashmiri Muslims and Pandit community.

“I know you people had to leave your homes under difficult situations. You people have suffered but so do have those who are their in Kashmir.

“The gift of education has helped you (Pandits) in making a name for yourself but those in Kashmir are still trying to live a peaceful life,” the chief minister said and made an appeal to Kashmiri Pandits to visit the Valley.

“The Valley is incomplete without you. To begin with, please come as tourists and later if you feel so, you are most welcome to go back to your homes and stay there. I am not assuring you a roller coaster ride.

“Difficulties will be there but we together have to face these difficulties. Please do not wait for the last gun to fall silent,” she said.

The chief minister also apologised to the Kashmiri Pandits for delay in resolving their issues.

The Kashmiri Pandits should send their younger generations to see the state to familiarise them with their roots, the way children from Jammu and Kashmir are sent to see the rest of India, Mufti said.

She also urged the Centre to talk with Pakistan so that the Kashmiri Pandits can visit Sharda Peeth in Pakistan administration Kashmir (PaK).

When asked about the third front, she said every party has a right to be in alliance with any party it wants.

Over funds to Jammu and Kashmir, she said it is given by the Centre and the earliest they do so, the state government tries to utilise them.

A charter of demands, including health insurance, was submitted by the group of Kashmiri Pandits to the chief minister who assured that she will consider and act upon them.

Sharda Peeth, once regarded as a major centre of learning, is an abandoned Hindu temple located in Sharda village along the Neelam river near the Line of Control (LoC).

‘Mouj Kashir’ Asks You To Come: CM To KPs

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Saturday said Kashmir without Kashmiri Pandits is as incomplete as are Kashmiri Pandits without Kashmir.

Addressing a function here, she said the joint ethos and cultural moorings of Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits even the passage of time could not erase as these are something unique in the present day world.

Describing the plea for their return back to Kashmir as a call from motherland, Mehbooba Mufti told the gathering to respond to it as someone who responds to the cries of her mother in pain. “You may say that many of you are now settled outside, some of them with good corporate packages. But I would say its a call from your motherland-Mouj Kashir-who asks you to come back and help in restoring back the social order which got disturbed with your unfortunate migration”, she told the gathering while making an emotional appeal for their return back.

“Don’t wait for the return of ideal conditions, we have to create these jointly”, she told the gathering. “Your Muslim brethren are fighting a situation there, come back and let us fight shoulder to shoulder”, she said adding while the members of Pandit community had to leave their homes unfortunately, their Muslim brethren suffered equally with deaths and destruction.

The Chief Minister said that though the successive Governments in Jammu & Kashmir did a lot for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandit migrant community but it cannot match the return back to their homes and hearths which she said is the earnest desire of every Kashmiri Muslim. She said her Government, acknowledging the role of Kashmiri Pandit families who stayed in Kashmir but got forgotten in the discourse, decided to reserve some posts for them in recruitment process so that they don’t feel left out.

Responding to the demands raised by several members of the community, Mehbooba Mufti said she would get the issues of difficulty in registration of migrants and their state subject issues looked into and if need be post an officer at New Delhi for the purpose. She also assured to look into the issues of medical insurance, hike in monthly relief and distant posting of some female staff at JK Bank New Delhi.

The Chief Minister invited the young children of Kashmiri Pandits to visit Kashmir so that they can get familiarised with the land they belong to and where their parents were born and brought up. She said whatever arrangements need to be done would be made by her Government.

Former Deputy Speaker of Legislative Assembly and Vice President PDP, Muhammad Sartaj Madni also addressed the gathering and recalled the cherished relations between Muslims and Pandits in Kashmir. He also highlighted the need for frequent interactions between the members of two communities so that the bond of amity is shifted to younger generation.

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