Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has advocated reopening of ancient trading routes between the state and Central Asian countries, official sources said on Saturday. This will help the state, which is the gateway to Central Asia, open up to the outside world and its opportunities, she said at the India Ideas Conclave 2017 at Panaji in Goa on Friday evening. An official statement issued here on Saturday quoted her as saying that re-opening the traditional/historic routes will enable to script a new history. Mehbooba Mufti said Jammu and Kashmir should be made a model state with connectivity all across so that it becomes a model for SAARC cooperation in the region. She also said that the state’s residents ought to be have a sense of belonging because the idea of India is incomplete without the idea of Jammu and Kashmir. “Reconciliation is the way ahead,” she said. The Chief Minister said that amnesty to Kashmiri youths involved in stone-pelting was aimed at giving them another chance to lead a peaceful life hereafter.
The appointment of an interlocutor by the Centre on Kashmir was a way forward for reconciliation, she said. “Though both the Peoples Democratic Party and Bharatiya Janata Party had ideological differences on many issues, their alliance is aimed to get Jammu and Kashmir out of uncertainty, and connect state’s people with those in rest of the country.”
On the return of migrant Kashmiri Pandit families to the Valley, the Chief Minister said not only her government, but the whole Kashmiri society wants them back honourably. She said the government was taking many steps to this end. The Chief Minister appealed to the media to play a crucial role in bringing people and communities closer. She said some media houses through irresponsible coverage of incidents ended up creating more discord and acrimony among different people and communities.