Welcoming the consensus reached between the border chiefs of India and Pakistan to defuse tension along the borders in Jammu and Kashmir, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President and Member Parliament, Mehbooba Mufti Sunday said peace and political stability are imperative for development and economic prosperity of the region. “The latest agreement between India and Pakistan to maintain peace along the borders, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, is an encouraging move and we would be looking forward to consolidation of peace efforts in the region,” Mehbooba said while addressing a day-long party convention here. Terming 2003 cease-fire agreement as the most significant step taken by the two countries for sustainability of peace process, Mehbooba said that truce should be maintained at any cost for the safety and normality of lives of people living along the borders. “People of Jammu and Kashmir have highest stakes in peace as they are the worst sufferers of hostility in the region,” she said. Observing that normalization of Indo-Pak relation is in the interest of both the countries, Mehbooba said she is hopeful that the political leadership in New Delhi and Islamabad would lead the dialogue and peace process from the front to usher the region into an era economic prosperity. “If bilateral trade worth millions of rupees can go on between the two countries daily via Wagah border, why to indulge blood spilling along the borders in Jammu and Kashmir,” she said and added that instead of trading canon fire and charges, India and Pakistan should trade goods through line of control as is being done in Punjab. Mehbooba emphasized that the present situation necessitates some bold measures to build people’s confidence and address their genuine developmental concerns. “At present what is needed the most is the political will and trust in the people of the State, especially the youth, only then can the dialogue and the peace process culminate in everlasting peace, not only in Jammu & Kashmir, but the whole subcontinent,” she said. Mehbooba said the greatest contribution of the PDP-led government between 2002 and 2005 was that it tried to build people’s stakes in the peace and development. “This became the fundamental input for the turn-around in the ground situation at that time,” she said and added that the Central leadership at that time also appreciated the turnaround in the overall situation in the State and responded to it with historic and imaginative confidence building measures. “The Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi should take the lead in reaching out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir through substantive political and economic measures to address the resurgent wave of alienation and cynicism, especially among the youth,” she said and added that the people of the State have time and again reposed their trust in the democratic means and the same needs to be reciprocated in equivalent manner through substantive measures. Recognizing the momentous problems the State’s youth are confronted with, Mehbooba said the PDP-BJP coalition government is making a modest efforts of devising a comprehensive policy for them incorporating both social and job security. “Their problems are many and varied and their aspirations naturally high,” she said and added that 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 State Government has already initiated various measures to provide productive employment to the youth. Mehbooba at the same time urged the youth to shun the path of violence and focus on their studies and career. “Instead of carrying guns and stones in their hands, the misguided youth should get a pen in its place to transform their lives,” she said. Expressing dismay over the reported highhandedness by some youth with the female participants at the international half-marathon at Kashmir University this morning, Mehbooba said such a rowdy behaviour is unacceptable in a civilized society. She said the State’s civil society should rise against such unruly behaviour where our daughters are being dishonoured by misguided disruptive elements. She said the objective of the marathon was to create awareness about various social issues including importance of following road traffic regulations, conservation of water bodies, keeping environment clean, and respecting elders. “I don’t know what was wrong with this marathon and why the youth tried not only disrupt it, but also humiliate the female participants both from within and outside the state,” she said and added that such chagrining acts only bring bad name to the society and the institutions. PDP General Secretary, Nizam-ud-Din Bhat, party Chief Spokesman, Dr Mehboob Beg, PDP Coordinator for North Kashmir, Raja Aijaz Ali, Political Advisor to PDP President, Peerzada Mansoor Hussain, PDP District President, Bandipora Yasir Reshi and Faqir Mohammad Khan also addressed the convention.
2015 Kashmir Despatch