Mehbooba calls for partnership with CPEC to exploit the State of its strategic position

Srinagar: Terming public outreach as the only way ahead, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti on Friday stressed on institutionalized dialogue process in the State to get it out of the difficulties of present times and bloodshed.

Interacting with a group of journalists here who had come from various cities of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa, the Chief Minister said, “the people of Jammu & Kashmir have been the worst sufferers of hostility between the two countries and despite four wars contentious issues could not be resolved.”

She said that majority of people in the sub-continent want peace and resolution of issues between India and Pakistan and any step in this direction would be a contribution towards this silent majority, an official spokesperson said.

Mehbooba Mufti also pitched for initiating State specific Confidence Building Measures which restore the faith of people in the system and the process.

She said that time has come to open historic routes across LoC to boost cross border travel and trade.

“We should move ahead and take benefit of even the opportunities emerging in our neighbourhood also,” she said while suggesting partnership with the upcoming CPEC to exploit the State of its strategic position vis-a-vis South and Central Asia.

CPEC – China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – is dollar fifty billion ambitious project of China which is being implemented in Pakistan so that it reaches warm waters of Gwadar port in Arabian sea.

Replying to a question, Mehbooba Mufti said that Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has the “will and determination who can take bold decisions”. “The present Government at the Centre has a decisive mandate to take any bold decision in this regard.”

On the Agenda of Alliance of the present Government, Mehbooba Mufti said, “it is a road map to get the State out of the web of uncertainty and bloodshed.”

“It is satisfying to note that the document has got a wider acceptance at the national level and even the opposition now demands its entry by entry implementation. Stitching the Alliance was a difficult decision but it was done to get the State out of its present difficulties and problems. It’s an experiment of different nature,” she said adding, “failure on this count would have far reaching consequences at the national level.”

The Chief Minister described tourism as one of the biggest CBMs to promote people to people contacts and minimize acrimony.

She appealed India’s media to help the State Government in this regard by projecting Jammu & Kashmir in its proper context rather blowing up an incident of stone pelting or so out of proportion.

“This would be your contribution towards peace and people of the State,” she reminded the visiting journalists while appealing them to help in dispelling negative perceptions about the State in their media.

An image of road which is part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Mehbooba Mufti said that Jammu & Kashmir offers a varied choice to the tourists visiting the State.

“Be it pilgrim tourism, heritage or adventure, out State offers it all and you need to explore it,” she said adding the hospitable nature of the people of State has been displayed time and again.

“Be it the boatman who saved his tourists while he himself got drowned, young boys who rescued the passengers of an army truck when it skidded off the road last year or the Amarnath Yatries who are being looked after by local Muslims, it reflects the hospitable nature of the people of the State which also is safest for women in the country,” she added.

Mehbooba Mufti regretted that the dialogue and reconciliation in the State lost its momentum after 2005 after late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed demitted office of the Chief Minister of the State. She said the present crisis is the result of the same adding the spirit of wide ranging public outreach as adopted by the then Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee needs to be restored and carried forward.

Responding to various queries by the members of the group, the Chief Minister enumerated the steps taken by the present Government to stabilize infrastructure post 2014 floods in terms of road macdamisation, augmentation of health, education, infrastructure and other critical sectors and future road map of the State Government for the coming years.

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