Road to India becoming global leader passes through J&K: Mehbooba

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti addressing the party workers in Srinagar on Thursday. -Excelsior/Shakeel
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti addressing the party workers in Srinagar on Thursday. -Excelsior/Shakeel

‘Make J&K peace zone, allow SAARC investment’

Excelsior Correspondent

Srinagar, July 28: People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president and former Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare Jammu and Kashmir a peace zone and said that for becoming global leader India has to resolve J&K.
Mehbooba made these remarks in her speech at Sher-e-Kashmir Park here while addressing party workers on the occasion of the PDP’s 23rd foundation day.

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The PDP president said there was no other option than dialogue to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir issue and opening all routes across the Line of Control (LoC) and allowing SAARC countries to invest in the region.
“I request you (PM) that J&K whose name you fear to take along with the name of Pakistan, there is a saying in English ‘catch the bull by the horns’, make this J&K and the other J&K a model of SAARC cooperation,” she said.
In her address to party workers, she said: “Declare both J&Ks a zone of peace and let all the SAARC countries invest here. Let they open their banks here, their handicrafts universities be opened, everyone be allowed to move freely, open all routes.”
The PDP president said that the trade between India and Pakistan goes on at the Wagah border in Punjab but it was suspended in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Have we ever heard that there was firing on the Punjab border or that there was war between India and Pakistan on the Gujarat border or Rajasthan border? No, it only happens on the borders in J&K,” she said.
“There is a war inside J&K as well. Ten lakh Army personnel on one side and youth with guns on the other. You will have to resolve this issue and there is no other option,” she said.
She also asked the Prime Minister to make J&K a gateway to Central and South Asia. “Pakistan and China have said all countries can become a part of the CPEC. You said do not do it, but they will do it and they will not stop because you said so. Did you stop from abrogating Article 370 when they said so? No, you went ahead and ruined everything here,” she said.
Mehbooba said that the PoK is lucky that its strategic position is being used to become a gateway to Central and South Asia. “Why do not you open routes through this J&K? Why not make it a gateway to Central and South Asia? Start from Jammu, reach Valley and then Ladakh – be it Xinjiang, Yarkhand, Kargil-Skardu, Bandipora-Astoor, we are telling you what to do,” she said.
The PDP president said that if Modi has to make India ‘Vishwa Guru’ (world leader), he has to resolve the Kashmir issue.
“India will become a ‘Vishwa guru’ because it has that power, it has democracy, it has secularism which in today’s times you are smashing, but if you want to make the country ‘Vishwa guru’, the road to it goes through Jammu and Kashmir,” she said.
Mehbooba said that the Modi Government has to resolve the Kashmir issue and hold a dialogue with Pakistan for peaceful relations.
“Till you (Modi) do not resolve the Kashmir issue, your feet will remain fettered by it. The road to becoming ‘Vishwa guru’ does not go through G-7 or G-20 or Quad, but through SAARC of which your neighbours Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and other countries are a part,” she said.
“When you can’t become a guru of your neighbours, then how will you become a Vishwaguru? What is the biggest hurdle in taking SAARC forward? It is the relations between India and Pakistan, she said.
Mehbooba also appealed to Prime Minister Modi to grant general amnesty to all Kashmiri youths languishing in different jails across the country.
Hundreds of party workers of the PDP gathered at SK Park outside their office in a first such large gathering in Kashmir in recent times which was permitted by the administration and provided security for peaceful culmination.
After the abrogation of Article 370, the Jammu and Kashmir administration did not allow mainstream political parties, especially PDP to hold big gatherings. The curbs, however, have been eased now.