Srinagar: People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti on Friday said that the alliance between PDP, Congress and National Conference (NC) was the need of the hour.
Mufti, a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, was speaking on “Kashmir – The Way Forward” at the Observer Research Foundation in Mumbai.
While addressing the audience, she said that there is total distrust and disconnect between people of Kashmir and Delhi (Central Government). “They look inwards or outwards (outside the border) for support. During the time of Vajpayee, the people of Kashmir thought of him as a leader who cared,” she said. “Even Pakistan responded positively resulting in reduction of militancy and ceasefire. Between 2002-05, it was the golden period of Kashmir, since for the first time the CM of Kashmir and PM of India were on the same page.”
Referring to her coalition government with the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in 2014, Mufti said that it was suicide, “but we put everything on the line because we hoped that Modi will pick up where Vajpayee ji left. Unfortunately, Modi ji could not rise to the occasion.”
Mufti also added that the governance is only possible if you have peace. “Thank God we are living in a democracy where people are allowed to vote and not cows,” she further said. “Kashmiris are the sufferers. Till when will our people keep witnessing this farce of people getting killed? We need to replace the idea of ‘Azad Kashmir’ with a better idea within the framework of the Indian Constitution. We cannot go back to 1947, we have to move forward.”
While her party is losing more people in last few days, including former cabinet ministers, Mufti said that she feels that SAARC countries are being held hostage to the animosity between India and Pakistan.
“For example, why can’t we have a SAARC Handicrafts University in Kashmir?” asked Mufti. “India is never an issue during Pakistan elections. However, that is not the case in India. It is for the country to rise up, reach the Kashmiris and find a solution. All the SAARC nations must come together and make Jammu & Kashmir a model of cooperation.”
“Unfortunately, the Media which is an important stakeholder in this discussion, is only adding fuel to the fire. The shaking of fists and shouting at one another is not representative of the real Kashmir. We need to change the discourse,” she said.
Speaking of 2016 civilian uprising, Mufti said that as Chief Minister, she had “a normal situation for just two months. Then Burhan Wani
was killed and all the discourse for the rest of my term was focused on law and order.”