Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday reminded Pakistan about the promise its former president Pervez Musharraf had made to former prime minister AB Vajpayee to maintain peace along the borders and sought its help in ending the bloodshed in the state.
She also appealed to India to give up the confrontation with Pakistan, saying it was the people of the state who were suffering due to the animosity between the two nations. “We have to restart the reconciliation process with Pakistan and you (India) have a bigger role in the process in Jammu and Kashmir,” Mufti said, addressing the attestation-cum-passing out parade of 911 police recruits at the subsidiary police training centre in Talwara here.
She expressed hope that the Pakistan government and its Army would extend the hand of friendship to help end the bloodshed in the state. “Musharraf had made a promise to Vajpayee about maintaining peace along the borders, to stop infiltration of militants and not to use Pakistan soil against India,” she said. “We are not able to stop the infiltration of militants completely. If we kill 200 militants, 200 others come. IED and suicide attacks add to our miseries,” she added.
Mufti said she hoped that they understood it and “as Vajpayee used to say that we will address Kashmir on humanitarian grounds, Pakistan will extend its support to help end the bloodshed in the state”. The CM asked what was the reason for the confrontation. “A piece of land…Help in saving the lives of the people. Use the money spent on fighting for the betterment of the people and give good hospitals, schools and roads so that we can also live in peace,” she said.
She expressed displeasure over the provocative statements coming from both sides. “Eant ka jawab pathher se denge (we will respond to a brick by throwing a stone)…Whenever a bullet is fired, someone loses their life,” she said. “These are our challenges. These challenges were there for the last 70 years but took the shape of the gun over the last three decades,” she said, demanding an end to these provocative statements.
She said Vajpayee’s statement that “we can change our friends but not neighbours” holds the key to moving forward. Mufti said there were a number of problems in restoring peace as without it there would be no development in the state. “Today our border villagers are living in fear and we are talking about constructing bunkers for them instead of concentrating on giving them good living conditions,” she said.
Mufti listed various steps taken by her government for the betterment of the police force, and said, “The J&K Police is the best force as it is faced with an extraordinary law and order situation. Your role is to pull out the state from this difficult phase and restore peace.” The CM asked the policemen to have a humane approach while dealing with the people.
“In this challenge, you have to face your own people. A 15-year-old boy with a stone in his hand stands up to challenge your authority. What will you do? Your work is difficult and sensitive but I’m hopeful that you will meet the challenge,” she said.