No alternative to reconciliation between India and Pak: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti

The ruling Peoples Democratic Party today said the heightened tensions along the Line of Control (LoC) should remind India and Pakistan about the “inevitability of dialogue” to find a just and pragmatic solution to all the contentious issues.

Mehbooba Mufti

Asserting that there was no alternative to reconciliation between the neighbouring nations, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti underlined the importance of finding a solution to the jolt received by the peace process, in the wake of a series of ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops in the recent past.

“PDP visualizes and is striving for a space of dignity and opportunity for the people of Jammu and Kashmir in a larger paradigm of friendship between India and Pakistan. We cannot visualize any alternative to reconciliation and dialogue between our country and Pakistan.

“The hostility between the two countries has hit the people of the state the hardest and the incidents on the borders and LoC should keep reminding the two countries the inevitability of sitting across the table to find a just and pragmatic solution to all the contentious issues,” she said.

Mehbooba was addressing a party workers convention in Anantnag district of south Kashmir. She expressed grief and shock over the recent civilian killings in Balakote sector of district Poonch in shelling from across the border.

“While I extend my heartfelt condolences to the families of innocent victims of cross-border shelling, I would request the stakeholders to de-escalate the tension and allow the people of the state to live in peace,” she said.

The Anantnag MP reiterated that attempts are being made to subvert the peace process in the Valley and asked the Prime Minister to step up his efforts in the wake of such attempts.

“With a decisive mandate at his back, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the opportunity to revive the process of reconciliation in the sub-continent. The prevailing alarming situation along the borders in Jammu and Kashmir necessitates the urgency of reviving the composite dialogue process,” she said.

Mehbooba said the significant reconciliatory measures taken between 2002 and 2005, when PDP was in power for the first time, in and around Jammu and Kashmir, both on internal and external fronts, had not only helped improve the security scenario in the region, but within the state as well.

“At a time when we are envisioning free movement of people and goods across the borders in south Asian region, J-K can’t afford to slide into another gloomy era of uncertainty and devastation,” she said. The PDP president said after decades of agony, people had started seeing a ray of hope in the peace process, which “unfortunately is under severe threat today”.

“I hope that the dark shadows of pessimism cast over the peace process will not jeopardize the region’s security and stability as any such scenario would have disastrous consequences for the people living in the region,” she said.

Welcoming Modi’s vision to boost intra-SAARC physical connectivity, Mehbooba said, the forum for South Asian Cooperation can’t realize its full potential unless India and Pakistan end their decades old hostilities and build a cooperative relationship around Jammu and Kashmir.

“J-K could become a bridge in this new paradigm of intra-SAARC connectivity instead of remaining a bone of contention in the region. By boosting connectivity between South Asian countries, SAARC will not only gain relevance but strength as well,” she said.

“The fulfilment of SAARC’s vision can’t happen in isolation and necessitates a cooperative relationship between India and Pakistan with Jammu and Kashmir becoming a hub of new economic collaboration in the region,” she added.

The PDP president said the plethora of problems facing the state today, including security concerns, cynicism, alienation, lack of connectivity, economic deprivation, rebuilding of flood-hit infrastructure, resource constraints, unemployment and social corrosion have to be taken head-on.

The country’s leadership will have to take bold political and economic initiatives to address the security and developmental concerns of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and liberate them from the psychological and geographical siege, she said.