Srinagar: Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti has urged the Centre to seize the opportunity by extending a hand of friendship with Pakistan’s Prime Minister-in-waiting Imran Khan so that issues between the two countries could be resolved.
While addressing the 19th foundation day of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) here on Saturday, Mehbooba said, “I appeal to (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi to take the opportunity to develop strong friendship with Imran Khan so that relations between the two countries could be strong, and other problems could also be resolved through dialogue.”
Imran Khan in his speech after Pakistan’s general elections on July 25 said that it was time the two countries sat across the table and discussed the Kashmir issue. He said, “We should sit across and resolve the issues instead of we blaming India for problems in Balochistan and they blaming us for problems in Kashmir.”
Without naming anyone, PDP chief in her speech, however, took a dig at the RSS-BJP. She said, “To solve the Kashmir issue we always raised our voice but vested interests always created problems in the name Article 370 and 35 A.”
She urged the Centre to hold dialogue with Hurriyat leaders also. She said the Centre should have a positive mindset in resolving the existing problems prevailing in the Valley. Taking credit for the ceasefire measure, Mehbooba added that it was the PDP who took the initiative for a ceasefire during Ramzan in May-June.
“PDP took initiative for a ceasefire during Ramzan. I appeal to the Centre to show a positive attitude towards Hurriyat and aim to bring them on the table for dialogue,” said Mehbooba.
Elaborating on PDP’s role in the Valley, the former chief minister said that her father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who served twice as the chief minister of the state was always in favour of holding dialogue with Pakistan to resolve issues due to which the region has been reeling for many years. She also claimed that while in power, the PDP always raised its voice for revoking of Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA) to eradicate terrorism in the Valley but vested interest of several political outfits prevented it.
“My father always made efforts to bring peace in the Valley and that is why he pitched that dialogue with Pakistan is a must. But both of us did not have authority to take the decision on the matter. But we still took ample steps such as to control the task force, revoke POTA to ease the lives of people,” Mehbooba pointed out.