Poonch, Sep 1: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President, Mehbooba Mufti Tuesday said peace and political stability are imperative for J&K’s development and economic prosperity. She said PDP visualizes and is striving for a space of dignity and opportunity for the people of Jammu & Kashmir in a larger paradigm of peace and stability in the South Asian region.
“The recurrent flare-up along the borders in Jammu and Kashmir and the consequent tragic loss of lives keeps us reminding of the inevitability of sitting across the table to find a just and pragmatic solution to all the contentious issues,” Mehbooba said while addressing a PDP workers convention here today.
“We cannot visualize any alternative to reconciliation and dialogue to end the dark era of hostility and confrontation in the region,” she said and added that violence along the borders has hit and is hitting the people of Jammu and Kashmir the most. She said people of Jammu and Kashmir have very high stakes in peace as they have to pay heavy costs during any escalation of tension in the region. “For the people of Jammu & Kashmir peace along the borders and within the mainland is of immense significance and I hope the political leadership of the two countries treats it with the same spirit,” she said and added that the ceasefire initiative of 2003 had proved to be an event of unrivalled importance for not only the two countries but also for the people in all the regions of Jammu & Kashmir.
She said LoC ceasefire, had not only given the much-needed relief to the people living along the borders, but it had, as well, provided the broad umbrella for the peace process to flourish. “The ceasefire brought, after decades of tension and destruction, relief and normalcy into the lives of people residing in the State’s forward areas,” she said and added that at the same time it also made historic initiatives like opening up of LOC for bus service possible in J&K.
Mehbooba expressed the hope that the NDA government headed by Narendra Modi would follow the path shown by former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee while initiating historic steps to normalize relations between India and Pakistan. “Our party has joined NDA with the hope that it can work together with the country’s leadership to restore peace and stability in Jammu and Kashmir,” she said and we would continue our efforts in this regard.
Mehbooba said the political leadership of the two countries shall have to snub those elements, who have been raising war hysteria, as every war between India and Pakistan was followed by dialogue. “If dialogue with Pakistan was started even after Parliament attack and Kargil conflict there is no reason to do it today for establishing lasting peace in this region”, she said.
Mehbooba said PDP has a critical role to play and a great responsibility to discharge in shaping up a politically stable and economically emancipated Jammu & Kashmir as the party’s very foundation is based on this very premise. “It is the dream of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to see sustainable peace and stability in the region. That is why he founded the PDP, otherwise he could have become Chief Minister even while being in Congress,” she said and reiterated her party’s resolve to realize the unfinished agenda of dignified political peace and sustainable economic prosperity for the people in all the regions and sub-regions of the State. “I assure you that the PDP would realize this dream under the leadership of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed,” she said.
Mehbooba said the youth constitute a vital and vibrant human resource for Jammu & Kashmir and they have a right, as well as an obligation, to participate and contribute actively in the endeavor for the State’s political and economic emancipation. “We have to invest in this enterprise of hope to secure a peaceful and prosperous future for our coming generations,” she said and added that while the turmoil has adversely affected almost all the spheres of society in the State, the youth became 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 future. “The need therefore is to create increasing opportunities for the state’s youth to develop their personality and their functional capability and make them economically productive and socially useful,” she said.
Mehbooba pointed out that the problem of unemployment especially among the educated youth is a matter of grave concern and needs immediate thought. She said in Jammu & Kashmir, the educated youth are mostly eyeing the government jobs as the sectors outside the government have just not flourished, because of the lopsided policies. “We need to break this vicious circle,” she said adding; “We have to assist our youth in getting their due share in the State’s life and progress, while equipping them to meet their obligations adequately.” She said not only the Government but the whole nation, including individuals, institutions and organizations have to be brought together in a spirit of creative enterprise to widen the economic and employment space for the State’s youth. She said the Government has already put in place a New Recruitment Policy to fast-track recruitments in a transparent manner.
Urging the deserving people to take full advantage of the public welfare schemes like Aasra and Laadli, Mehbooba said these schemes are aimed at providing social and financial security to the poorer sections of the society.
She said the Government has also initiated various path-breaking measures in education, health, rural development, road communication and other sectors which would prove to be game-changers in the developmental scenario of the State. She said the border districts like Poonch and Rajouri would also get due share in development as was done between 2002 and 2005 when several landmark developmental initiatives were taken in the twin borders districts including establishment of Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University, construction of Mughal Road etc.
Later, Mehbooba, alongwith, senior party leaders visited Balakote area of district Poonch along the LoC where several innocent lives were recently lost in cross-LoC shelling.
2015 Kashmir Despatch