Srinagar, September 24: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President, Ms Mehbooba Mufti today called upon the party cadres to work for once again creating an amicable atmosphere within the state that would sustain the efforts at reviving and building the peace and reconciliation process started in 2003.
Addressing a meeting of senior PDP leaders, party Ministers, Members of Parliament, legislators and coordinators here today, Ms Mehbooba said peace and reconciliation has been the core agenda of her party and the hostile atmosphere around the State will one day have to wield a place to reason and reconciliation. “The peace and reconciliation process which was started in 2003 had gained ground and shown results as the atmosphere within J&K was congenial for the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) to take shape,” she said.
Expressing pain at the loss of precious human lives during the current unrest in Kashmir, Ms Mehbooba said she and her government are not looking out for a temporary truce but would focus on building an environment where such turbulences never visit the people again.
She said while PDP and its alliance partner BJP are committed to the implementation of the `Agenda of the Alliance`, however, a congenial atmosphere needs to be created within and around the State for its effective implementation.
“Unfortunately we did not get any time to even start the implementation of Agenda of Alliance and some elements who thought that PDP is serious about the promises it made to the people, started making attempts from day one to create hurdles and ultimately found an encounter as the trigger to exploit the sentiments,” she said.
Ms Mehbooba said the positive impact that the government under the leadership of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed made between 2002-2005, was the result of the combination of circumstances, important one being the readiness of Pakistan to enter into a dialogue process in response to the repeated peace overtures by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
This time however, she said, the initiatives by Prime Minister Narendra Modi were unfortunately responded to with negativity and even hostility by Islamabad. “But I am confident that the way forward for everybody is through acceptance of ground realities and offering relief, hope and dignity to the people which could ultimately lead to permanent reconciliation, peace and resolution in the region,” she said.
Ms Mehbooba said PDP was founded in the immediate aftermath of Kargil war and it was this party that first raised the banner of good relations between the two countries, an agenda that was accepted by everyone in the following years. “Our party will never compromise on the need for peace as it is our state and its people who are the main victim of hostilities in the region,” she said.
Asking the party ministers to increase accessibility and interaction with the people, Ms Mehbooba said the current trouble should lead us to work with more zeal for the welfare of the people and revive the cadres of the party to act as emissaries of peace and development.
She said the development process in Kashmir valley has unfortunately suffered a serious setback as a result of the disturbances and it has hit the sectors like tourism, transport, commerce and horticulture the most.
While it is satisfying that the government has been able to ensure even in the face of difficulties and odds the supply of rations, power, water, gas, medicines and functioning of hospitals, education has received debilitating blow. She said the government ensured participation of thousands of students in competitive examinations but unfortunately the schools and colleges were rendered dysfunctional because of the shutdown.
This, she said could result in a permanent and irreparable damage to our society, and it is for the parents and the society to address this serious crisis, sooner the better.
She said the business and the industry have suffered a loss of thousands of crores and numerous people have been rendered jobless.
Expressing confidence in the resilience of the people of Kashmir, Ms Mehbooba said they have come out of many a crisis in the past and were trying to pick up the threads of life after the devastating floods of 2014 when the present turmoil cut short one of the best tourist seasons and revival of economic activities in the valley.
She said her government will provide succor in the revival of economy but those who are out to damage the state’s interests and keep the pot boiling will have to change their mindset and methods so that the people do not suffer.
Speaking on the occasion senior party leader and Member of Parliament Muzaffar Hussain Beigh said the Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti is facing unprecedented challenges.
“We have full confidence in the abilities and leadership of Mehbooba Ji that she will lead the people out of this morass and quagmire. And I appeal every stakeholder to strengthen the hands of the Chief Minister so that a workable solution to our issues is realized,” he said.
Mr Beigh said resolution of the Kashmir issue is a must to ensure sustainable peace and development in the state and the parties to the conflict have to realize this fact and work in a manner that will facilitate bonhomie and good neighborly relations.
Several other party leaders also addressed the meeting.