Mehbooba hopeful Modi will follow Vajpayee on Indo-Pak ties

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Jammu, Sep 1: Reiterating that PDP formed government with BJP in Jammu and Kashmir to restore peace and stability, party chief Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday expressed hope that the Narendra Modi-led government will follow the path of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and initiate "historic" steps to normalise relations between India and Pakistan.

"We hope that the NDA government headed by Narendra Modi would follow the path shown by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee while initiating historic steps to normalise relations between India and Pakistan," Mehbooba said while addressing a PDP workers' convention in Poonch district.

Mehbooba Mufti

"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. We would continue our efforts in this regard," he added.

Mehbooba said the political leadership of the two countries will have to snub those elements who have been raising "war hysteria".

"Peace and political stability are imperative for J&K's development and economic prosperity. PDP visualises and is striving for a space of dignity and opportunity for the people of J&K in a larger paradigm of peace and stability in the South Asian region.

"The recurrent flare-up along the borders in J&K 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," she said.

"We cannot visualise any alternative to reconciliation and dialogue to end the dark era of hostility & confrontation in the region," she said while adding that violence along the borders has hit the people of J&K 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 J&K 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.

She said the ceasefire initiative of 2003 had proved to be an event of "unrivaled importance" for not only the two countries but also for the people of J&K.

"LoC ceasefire had not only given the much-needed relief to the people living along the borders, but it had 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... At the same time, it also made historic initiatives like opening up of LOC for bus service in J&K," 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.

Mehbooba reiterated her party's resolve to realise 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 PDP would realize this dream under the leadership of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed."

She said the youth constitute a vital and vibrant human resource for J&K and they have a right, as well as an obligation, to participate and contribute actively in the endeavour 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. 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," the PDP leader said.

She said the society cannot 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 added.

Mehbooba pointed out that the problem of unemployment, especially among the educated youth is a matter of grave concern and needs immediate thought.

"In Jammu & Kashmir, the educated youth are mostly eyeing government jobs as sectors outside the government have just not flourished because of the lopsided policies. We need to break this vicious circle.

"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.

PTI

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