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Mehbooba appeals to Pak to stop supporting militancy in valley


Srinagar, Apr 4: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday asked Pakistan to stop supporting militancy in the state and enable restoration of peace so that a dialogue process could begin.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti

"It is my appeal to those across the border that they should renew the policy of not supporting militancy or the gun that they had adopted during Vajpayee's time," she said addressing an election meeting in Dooru in Anantnag constituency.

"Help us restore peace in Jammu and Kashmir and then talks will take place here and across (PoK) as well," she added.

The Chief Minister was campaining for Mufti Tassaduq Hussain, her brother and ruling PDP candidate for by-poll to Anantnag Lok Sabha seat vacated by her last year. Mehbooba said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Pakistan in December 2015 had rekindled hopes of improving relations between New Delhi and Islamabad.

"Narendra Modi went on his own to Lahore to meet Nawaz Sharif. A new hope was attached to it but unfortunately Pathankot terror attack happened," the Chief Minister said.

"These tense times will not last forever. Vajpayeeji used to say that you can change friends but not the neighbours. We have to live with each other cordially," she added.

Talking about the local issues of Jammu and Kashmir, the Chief Minister said unemployment was a major challenge of the present times.

"Creation of more job opportunities for the local youth is a priority for my government," Mehbooba said.

She said she is already seized of the seriousness of the unemployment problem in the state and her government is working to create as many job opportunities as possible in both the government and the private sector. As part of this initiative, she said, the government has also invited the corporate sector to invest in the state so that local youth are provided decent job opportunities.

Terming tourism as a "game changer" for the state's economy, the Chief Minister said she has already directed that while developing a destination for tourist activities, it should be ensured that the people in catchment areas become the primary beneficiaries.

"Directions have been issued to the authorities concerned that while developing a particular tourist place, locals of the area, particularly youth, should be the first beneficiaries in terms of the service delivery or product supply," the PDP president said.


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