Mehbooba interacts with Civil Society members at Budgam

Mehbooba interacts with Civil Society members at Budgam

Seeking people’s cooperation in shaping up a politically stable and economically emancipated Jammu & Kashmir, Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti today said the political and developmental process and good governance have to go hand in hand to put the State back on track.

“Perhaps more than ever before, people of J&K today want the politicians to stand up and address the political and economic issues that matter to them and I urge the country’s political leadership to make a fresh start to revive the peace and reconciliation process in the State through tangible Confidence Building Measures,” the Chief Minister said while interacting with civil society representatives here today.

Minister for Agriculture, Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura, Legislator, Saif-ud-Din Bhat and former legislator, Dr Shafi were present during the interaction.

Calling for an end to the violent protests which have resulted in the loss of precious human lives and grave injuries, the Chief Minister said; “Violence has neither served any purpose in the past, nor is it going to do so in future except bringing miseries to the people.” She said it is tragic to note that the victims belong to the poorest of the poor families and it is the parents of these slain youth who shall to live with this trauma forever. “Having played their politics over the dead bodies of the youth, nobody is going to come and give solace to these families after some time,” she said.

Maintaining that her Government is striving for a space of dignity and opportunity for the people of Jammu & Kashmir in a larger paradigm of peace and reconciliation in the region, the Chief Minister called upon the country’s political leadership to take measures to address the causes of alienation and trust deficit in Kashmir and work towards finding a lasting solution to the problems plaguing the State and its people. “All shades of political opinion in the state and the country shall have to evolve a consensus on a pragmatic and workable solution of the problems confronting J&K in the interest of peace and stability in the state and the region,” she said and added that the time has come to strike a new benchmark in light of the global and regional realities for the resolution of the State’s problems.

Ms Mehbooba said, under the leadership of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, PDP came forward in 2002 to espouse the cause of dignified and peaceful resolution of the issues confronting J&K at a time when there was all-round despair. “The people of the State then suffered from a feeling of deep hopelessness, strong alienation, cynical aloofness and complete lack of faith in the democratic political process,” she said and added that being in touch with the ground realities PDP led government, at that crucial juncture, came forward to articulate the aspirations of the people in a responsive and responsible manner, and the results were there for all to behold.

Ms Mehbooba said the PDP-led government had at that time sparked political, economic and social activity on a phenomenal scale in Jammu & Kashmir facilitating complete transformation of the ground situation. “Unfortunately, the lack of political direction after 2005 brought the situation back to square one resulting in fresh cynicism and alienation,” she said and added that the present drift in the situation is the result of the policy of healing touch which was put in place by the PDP-led Government between 2002 and 2005. “If we want the situation to stabilize, we will have to go back to the policy of reconciliation and winning the hearts and minds of the people of J&K, sooner the better,” she said.

Calling for a collective effort to get the State back on course, the Chief Minister sought people’s cooperation, especially from the youth, in her efforts to lead the state towards peace, political stability and progress.

She said the youth have to be singled out as a target group deserving specific attention. She said the kind of a violent situation J&K has gone through, over the past two decades, has deeply affected our society as a whole and our youth in particular. “Young people have been particularly affected by the collapse of education and employment opportunities in the State,” she said and added that the Government will launch a process, which will prepare young people to meet the challenges of future through a series of coordinated, progressive programs and activities.

The Chief Minister said the Government shall have to consider new ways to involve youth and allow them to offer input during decision-making, problem solving, and action-taking activities. “Active collaboration with youth will engage them in ways that will open doors for them to contribute,” she said and added it is ironic to note that while on one side our bright young boys and girls are making us proud by qualifying prestigious competitive examinations and getting admission in reputed institutions like St Stephens, on the other hand some youth belonging to poorest of the poor families are being exploited and handed over stones instead of pen.

Besides members of Civil Society groups, representatives of various religious and trade bodies were also present during the interaction.