Jammu: Noting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has opened another window of opportunity for Pakistan by calling for a joint war against poverty, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today asked the neighbouring country to understand that such opportunities do not come daily.
“The call of Modiji to Pakistan and its people for war against poverty has no answers (from them). Pakistan, its people and its leadership should understand its meaning,” Mehbooba told a gathering here tonight.
“There is no answer to his remarks… Despite Pathankot, Modiji went to Lahore for peace but Uri happened,” she said.
Mehbooba said Pakistan should understand that Modi has given them another window of opportunity fot friendly relations, peace and normalcy in the region.
“Despite this (Uri) and huge pressure, Modiji as a statesman gave another window (of opportunity) to Pakistan… If Pakistan will not even today understand this, it will not get such opportunities daily,” she said.
“Recently there was a cry for war and attack on Pakistan — do this and do this kind of environment. But the reply came from our the PM. It was more than hydrogen or atom bomb when he (PM) declared a war against poverty,” she said.
The Chief Minister said had it been former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in such a situation, he would have said the same thing.
“I am hopeful that the strike, PM called for against Pakistan will definitely have results. Our biggest problem is poverty. If problems of conflicts and smaller problem would have not been faced by India, our country would much more developed and prosperous,” she said.
Referring to the ongoing unrest in Kashmir, she said, “We are passing through trying times and a test. The situation is slowly improving in Kashmir.”
Maintaining that war is never an option to resolve the issues, Mehbooba pitched for amicable relations between India and Pakistan to fight the poverty and economic deprivation plaguing the region while underlining the need of a bilateral dialogue to resolve the issues.
“The two nuclear armed neighbors must cooperate in the fields of social development, including eradication of poverty and with their growing economies and energy needs, and the need for newer, more diverse markets and trading opportunities, the future of the troubled region has to be defined by common economic interests instead of hostilities,” she said.
“Instead of fighting wars with each other, the two countries should join hands to eradicate poverty and to address social problems plaguing the region… Modi went to Pakistan with this message on behalf of people of J&K but the Pathankote incident shattered that process,” she said.
The Chief Minister said as in any violent situation, the women have suffered the most in Jammu and Kashmir.
“In Kashmir, women have become primary victims of the violent situation over the last three decades which hasn’t led us anywhere. Our party became the harbinger of peace when my father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, spoke of nursing the wounds of people when the memory of Kargil war was still afresh,” she said.
“In times of war, Mufti Sahab urged India and Pakistan to get involved in talks and start a process of reconciliation. In 2002, we formed the government with Congress when NDA was ruling at the Centre. Atalji understood Mufti Sahab’s point of view and started CBMs which ushered in a new era of peace and prosperity,” Mehbooba said.
The Chief Minister said her Peoples Democratic Party, of which she is the president, entered into the alliance with the BJP to take forward the mission of restoration of peace in Jammu and Kashmir.
“If the Centre walks one step towards the people of Kashmir, they will respond with 10 steps which is what made Atalji one of the most popular Indian leader among Kashmiris,” she said.
Hitting out at the opposition for targeting the coalition government over petty issues, the Chief Minister said the same parties, who want to keep the pot boiling in Kashmir, sold their mandate in the past purely in order to remain in power.
“Those speaking against us used to talk in the language of war when they were in power. Mufti Sahab knew that PM Modi has the mandate of the entire country which was why we shook hands with BJP. We have lost count of widows and orphans. How long are we going to fight with each other?” she asked.