Rajouri/Jammu, March 13 (Scoop News) – Asserting that peace was the only option for India and Pakistan to move ahead on development path and resolve issues that have held them hostage for decades, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, has said that Jammu and Kashmir needed a holistic approach to help it come out of its immense problems. “Our country as the largest stake holder has to take a lead role in that historic initiative which could set one fifth of humanity on the road to salvation and progress” Mufti told a party workers meet in Rajouri today.
Expressing his dismay at the lack of pace in the peace process between the two countries, Mufti said while strategic interests of the two countries too were important but the ultimate aim of serving people’s interest could be served only by striking the right balance in strategic matters and humanitarian considerations. He said it was unfortunate that the peace process had got bogged down apparently in electoral apprehensions of major political parties on both sides. This can be addressed if the political parties made peace and not jingoism their electoral plank, he said and added his political sense indicated that the people would give an overwhelming mandate to a party that made peace the central point of its manifesto. “That will need statesmanship of a kind that was displayed by Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2003 and followed up by Dr Manmohan Singh’s first government” Mufti said.
Mufti said there were enough indications the more elements in Pakistan were now in favour of peace with our country than they ever have been in the past. It seems even major sections of its powerful army too are on board the wishes of the general public opinion in that country that peace with India is the only option, he said. But, Mufti pointed out that while in the past we have engaged military dictatorships in that country in peace negotiations it looked strange that now when democracy was taking roots in Pakistan we appear to be shying away from a meaningful and sustained dialogue with its leadership.
Condemning the attack on a CRPF bunker in Srinagar and killing of yet another civilian youth there in a separate incident Mufti said such senseless violence serves nobody’s interests. He said every life lost is a tragedy and we have to create an atmosphere of trust, justice and fair play in which such incidents do not take place. Military victory over terror and violence can never last unless people get a sense of justice and of being equal stakeholders in democratic process, he added.
Mufti said while the issue needs to be resolved between India and Pakistan, the people of the state continue to suffer in their daily lives a deep sense of neglect by the government. Governance deficit has only increased in the last four years but what is a cause of a greater worry is the erosion of credibility of our democratic institutions. He said the people of the state had repeatedly voted for in election after election but the institutions they elected have failed in delivering results. Whether it is panchayat, a local body or the state assembly we are witnessing a complete disempowerment of these institutions, Mufti regretted. He said the government had been stonewalling any debate of substance in the assembly which was the ultimate repository of authority and public faith. “It would send an extremely negative signal if the institution is throttled and looks unable to discuss issues touching every body’s life” he said and pointed out that the legislature is not just a mechanism to authorise grants for departments but provide a forum for unrestricted debate on every subject under the constitution.