Asserting that “reconciliation is the mantra” for improving bilateral ties between India and Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to initiate a dialogue process with the neighbouring country.
“Reconciliation is the mantra which we need to follow and therefore, I request Modi ji to engage with Pakistan,”Mehbooba said while speaking at a function organised by a group of Kashmiri Pandits owing allegiance to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in New Delhi. She also insisted that war was never an option. “We need to take an assurance from the neighbouring country that they should not be allowing their soil to be used against India. After all, we all know that the key for peace is in Pakistan. They have been pushing terrorists into the state,” she said.
Calling for efforts to change the slogan of “Azadi” in the Kashmir Valley, the chief minister said: “This can be achieved. Why can’t Jammu and Kashmir be a gateway to the central Asian countries. If the CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) is a possibility, so can be this. If new roads are opened, the slogan of Azadi will automatically change.
Mehbooba also advised people to abstain themselves from watching debates on India-Pakistan relations on television channels as they only foment hatred between the two warring nations as well as the Muslims of Kashmir and the rest of the country. “Those, sitting in studios and pontificating the nation, are only interested in the TRP ratings and not finding solution to the problem. Many a times I wonder who are these people who talk so much on television. Are they even aware of the ground realities,” she said. “If a war had to happen, it would have in 2001 when the armies of the two nation were in an eye-ball-to-eye ball contact for over a year,” she added.
The Jammu and Kashmir CM was also of the view that war cannot happen between India and Pakistan in the contemporary times. “War (between India and Pakistan) will not happen. After the attack on Parliament in 2001, the armies of both the countries (India and Pakistan) were deployed along borders for a year, if the war did not take place back then, it will not take place now as both the nations know it will be disastrous (for both),” she said.
She also appealed for a reconciliation between the Kashmiri Muslims and Pandit community. “I know you people had to leave your homes under difficult situations. You people have suffered but so do have those who are their in Kashmir. The gift of education has helped you (Pandits) in making a name for yourself but those in Kashmir are still trying to live a peaceful life,” the chief minister said and made an appeal to Kashmiri Pandits to visit the Valley.
This statement from the chief minister comes at a time when incidents of ceasefire violation across the Line of Control (LoC) and terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir have been on the rise, leading to an hostile environment between both the countries.
(With PTI inputs)