People of Jammu and Kashmir become the first casualty of any hostile environment between India and Pakistan, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today said, underlining that only sustained peace in the region can allow her government to resuscitate the financial health of the state which has been caught in a “web of violence”.
“The people of J-K become the first casualty of any hostile environment between India and Pakistan. Since partition, Kashmir, the paradise on earth, has been caught in a web of violence and this has adversely affected our economy and prevented our state from realising its full potential,” Mehbooba said here.
The Chief Minister was addressing a gathering after jointly inaugurating the first-ever National Khadi Exhibition with Union MSME Minister Kalraj Mishra at Kashmir Haat here.
She said that only sustained peace in the region can allow her government to resuscitate the state’s financial health by reviving core sectors of economy, including small-scale industries.
“The instability in the region has adversely impacted the economy of the state. It is with sustained peace that my government will be able to resuscitate the state’s financial health,” she said.
Mehbooba said her father and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had made a “historic beginning” in 2003 to bring Kashmir out of the “quagmire of violence”.
“During his first tenure as Chief Minister, peace returned on borders, and India and Pakistan talked business for the very first time,” she said.
“When the bus carrying visitors from across the LoC arrived here from Muzaffarabad, people could not believe the unfolding of a new era of peace and stability in the region. Unfortunately, that peace initiative was not taken forward,” she said.
Mehbooba said she chose to follow in the footsteps of her father by aligning with BJP as the party ruling at the Centre could revive the peace process in the region.
“I chose to follow the footsteps of my father, who had chosen the toughest option of aligning with BJP, which alone guarantees a representative government that respects the wishes and aspirations of people in all the three regions of the state and could revive the peace process in the region.
“With thaw in relations between the two neighbours, I am hopeful that dividends of peace will reach the people with dignity and honour,” the Chief Minister said.
Mehbooba said efforts are being made to revive the cross-LoC trade at Chakan da Bagh, in Poonch, and Salamabad, in Uri, Baramulla, by shifting to the banking system of operation from barter trade.
She also spoke about broadening the scope of LoC commerce by incorporating more tradable items in the approved list as well as opening additional crossing points to boost travel across the LoC.