Arguing for an increase in trade traffic in the Valley, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday said that Kashmir should be allowed to join China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), among other trade routes.
Talking about ways to restore peace in Kashmir at Rajat Sharma's show Aap ki Adalat, the former chief minister said that more trade routes should be opened between India and Pakistan to encourage trade.
"Open access to Kashmir, we must join CPEC developed by China, open trade route between Nowshera, Jammu-Sialkot, we must also try open route to Shardha peeth for Kashmiri Pandits," she said adding that once you will open Kashmir from all sides, the people will realise what lies beyond borders and how much their own country has been doing for them.
Dismissing the allegation that her strategies of open borders will lead to increase in infiltration of terrorists and drugs, Mehbooba Mufti said that terrorists do not cross from regularised trade posts, but from other borders.
India has consistently objected to China's economic corridor at several global platforms and has refused to join as the project violates India's territorial integerity by passing through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, which India claims as integral part of Jammu and Kashmir.
During the interview with Rajat Sharma, Mehbooba Mufti reiterated her advocacy for peace talks with Kashmir arguing that violent response to Pakistani terrorists cannot end bloodshed.
Replying to a question about Pakistan-backed terrorism, Mehbooba said that onus of peace efforts lies on India. “Talks with Pakistan is the only way out. Like Vajpayee, we should have talks with Pakistan not once, or twice, but for many, many times. Kashmir issue cannot be solved with guns… Surgical strike was carried out, did it end bloodshed? Could we stop editor Shujaat Bukhari from being killed? …To stop bloodshed in Kashmir, we will have to stop Pakistan, and that can be done only through talks,” she said.
Mehbooba Mufti agreed that “Pakistan had been involved (in fomenting violence) in Kashmir since the beginning. But Kashmiris are becoming the casualty of India-Pakistan rivalry. Whether it is today, or tomorrow, or 10 years hence, the solution to Kashmir problem lies in following Vajpayee’s path (of insaaniyat, Kashmiriyat)”.
Peace in Kashmir is vital if we want to end the beeline of coffins coming out of the state. The young boys who leave their homes for jobs do not deserve to die for serving the nation, she said.
Describing the period from 2002 to 2005 as “a period of magic moment”, the former chief minister said, “at that time Vajpayee was the PM in Delhi and my father Mufti Sahib was the chief minister, and both were working in close tandem. The people of Valley still remember those days”.
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When Rajat Sharma pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also offered peace a chance by inviting the then Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif to Delhi and visited Lahore to celebrate his birthday, but Pakistan responded with attacks in Pathankot and Uri, Mehbooba replied: “I do not deny that Modiji didn’t try, but there has to be consistency.”
"People heaved a sigh of relief. This ceasefire was not meant for militants, it was meant for the common man. By discontinuing the ceasefire, we did what the militants really wanted," she claimed.
Dismissing the charges that the unilateral ceasefire did more damage than good, Mehbooba said that the situation in the Valley improved by 70 per cent during the ceasefire. Mehbooba Mufti said, for the first time during ceasefire, the Home Minister came to the valley and no strike call was given. People were getting a sense of normalcy.
Watch full episode of Aap ki Adalat here: