Mehbooba Mufti faces flak for ‘cross-border trade’ remark

New Delhi: Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s appeal to the Centre to not block trade routes with Pakistan has not gone down well with many, as experts have pointed out that Separatists are the only beneficiaries from such a trade.

Defence Expert, P.K. Sehgal, while speaking to ANI criticized the use of cross-border trade in the valley and said that only the separatists are the beneficiaries from such a trade.

“Money is created for separatists and it’s used for anti-India motives. It’s used for narco-terrorism, ammunition etc,” he said, adding that vote bank politics continue to get the better of Mufti and that she is pursuing with the cross-border trade because her constituency is mainly occupied by separatists.

He also said that in order for the cross-border trade to continue, a number of checks and balances need to be kept in place so that nothing works in favor of the separatists.

Speaking on the same, senior journalist Rahul Jalali pointed to the civil unrest in the valley ever since Mehbooba Mufti took office. He also criticized her for not commenting on any of the issues in the valley before the arrest of the separatist leaders.

He spoke of a Coordination committee which was present during her father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s regime and said that she should have revived the committee and held talks within her ambit.

Speaking on her cross-border trade comment, he said, “She speaks beyond her jurisdiction. These are international matters with another country and she could have taken this up in the agenda of alliance through the coordination committee.”

The flurry of criticism comes after Mufti on Saturday appealed to the Centre to revive the Lahore Declaration for restoring peace in the Valley, and not block trade routes with Pakistan.

The Lahore Declaration is a bilateral agreement and governance treaty between India and Pakistan which was signed in 1999 before the Kargil war.

Her statement came a day after she had warned the Central Government against diluting Article 370, which grants special status to the state.