"You Trusted My Father Blindly, Trust Me With Open Eyes": Mehbooba on Govt Formation
SRINAGAR: Stressing that her party will not trade the "dignity" of people for power, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president, Mehbooba Mufti, urged the Centre to announce "political and economic" initiatives to address the problems in Jammu and Kashmir.
"The governance initiatives in Jammu and Kashmir would be productive only if they are complimented by political and economic measures. Unless such measures are taken, no government (in J&K) whether formed by PDP, National Conference, Congress or BJP will make any difference," she said.
The PDP has been holding back channel negotiations with the rightwing party for government formation in Jammu and Kashmir for nearly a month now with two senior leaders, Dr Haseeb Drabu and Dr Amitabh Mattoo, camping in the national capital to break the ice.
The PDP president said the state of Jammu and Kashmir is entangled in political and economic complexities on internal and external fronts which should be tackled through "holistic measures to ensure sustainable peace and stability in the state".
“While on J&K’s internal front, there are issues of systemic political and economic disempowerment, security concerns, mounting alienation, sense of deprivation, wanton exploitation of state’s natural resources, unemployment, social issues and unaccountability on external front, there are issues with Pakistan,” she said while addressing a PDP workers convention in south Kashmir's Anantnag for second leg of party’s membership drive which was launched in Srinagar.
"If we really want to turnaround the situation, we will have to not only involve Pakistan in a sustained dialogue but also take bold political and economic initiatives on internal front to address the concerns of the state and do away with the past injustices done with us," she added.
Calling upon the youth who have joined militant groups in recent past in Kashmir to shun violence, Mehbooba said "alienation and cynicism" is taking roots among the state’s young population due to growing political uncertainty and economic disempowerment.
"I urge the gun-yielding youth to take cue from the accomplishments of their counterparts and make a mark in the academic and professional fields instead of falling prey to the machinations of the proponents of death and destruction,” she said.
Recalling the tenure of her late father as chief minister between 2002-2005, Mehbooba said a coordinated effort was made by the state government and the Centre on "internal and external fronts" which had a good impact on the ground.
"At that time most of the political pundits had expressed cynicism over the enterprise of hope piloted by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, but Jammu and Kashmir had, after going through a long era of turmoil, started witnessing real peace and progress during that golden era with every section of the society contributing towards peace and reconciliation efforts," she said.
"Unfortunately, the situation in the state started sliding back into uncertainty following the reversal of the development, resolution and reconciliation process set off between 2002 and 2005," Mehbooba, who is Member of Parliament from Anantnag, said.
Mehbooba said the welfare of Jammu and Kashmir and its people, not power, is the first priority for PDP and the party would continue its struggle for peace, stability and political and economic empowerment of the masses.
"You trusted my father blindly, but I am asking you to trust me with open eyes. I am not bargaining (with BJP) for merely power, but for the welfare of the people of Jammu and Kashmir," she said.