Mehbboba defends alliance with BJP, speaks out on AFSPA, NEET, Sainik colonies

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Mehbboba defends alliance with BJP, speaks out on AFSPA, NEET, Sainik colonies  

CM says give her some time, will show results; Pitches for revival of Indo-Pak peace process

On Alliance with BJP

Srinagar, May 28: Defending her party’s decision to join hands with the BJP, Ms Mehbooba said the politics of hostility in India and Pakistan has victimised people of J&K. The Chief Minister said her party respected the mandate of the people in Jammu after Assembly Elections 2014 and shook hands with the BJP for the larger interests of Jammu and Kashmir.

“I am not retracting my statements against the BJP during election campaign because the revocation of Article 370 was in their poll manifesto. But the mandate given by Jammu to BJP put us in a tricky situation. Either we had to disrespect the mandate and repeat the situation of 1987 for our own interests, or we could join hands with them for strengthening our relations. We chose the latter,” she said.

She said if the PDP had joined hands with other political parties like National Conference and Congress, and kept the BJP out of the government, the situation in the state could have turned ugly. “Our state, God forbid, would have been torn apart. We could not have stayed together, had we disrespected the Jammu’s mandate. Syed Ali Geelani and Abdul Gani Lone were part of this house but they chose a different path because of the attempts made to disrespect the mandate of people,” she said.

“We have to carve out a middle path. When Kashmir was burning and Dr Farooq Abdullah was promised ‘Sky is the Limit’ in 1996, he shook hands with the Centre for improving the political and economic landscape of J&K. We have similar concerns and the opposition must share our concerns,” she said.

On Agenda of Alliance

The Chief Minister said PDP-BJP ‘Agenda of Alliance’ is not event-related and it is a process which is being and would be taken to the logical conclusion through tangible initiatives at political, economic and administrative fronts. “We have demonstrated that during our brief stint in power between 2002 and 2005, and would continue to pursue our core ideals with unflinching consistency in our present tenure in the Government,” she said.

Ms Mufti said the issues mentioned in the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ have been approved during the Round Table Conferences convened by then Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and by PM’s Working Groups on J&K which were attended by all the political parties. “We have all agreed that India and Pakistan must start dialogue. We all want the defence forces to return our land and pay up rents for land under their occupation. We want banking facilities on LoC and power projects from NHPC. But you have to give me some time for all this to happen,” she said.

On Self-Rule

Ms Mehbooba said with the Self-Rule framework being the guiding principle for the resolution of the problems of Jammu and Kashmir, PDP would work towards facilitating closer ties across the Line of Control, making the borders irrelevant, reviving the State’s traditional connectivity with outside world to pave the way for economic and social integration of the region through a common economic market.

She said the cross-LoC confidence building measures, political, economic and governance issues concerning Jammu and Kashmir, as encompassed in the Self-Rule, have been duly taken care of the ‘Agenda of Alliance’.

The Chief Minister said her party formulated the Self-Rule Document to fulfil the aspirations of people of J&K. “Mufti saheb wanted to open the doors of J&K for imports and exports. He wanted to bridge the divide between people of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan administered Kashmir. We had to take the cross LoC trade and people-to-people contacts to the next level,” she said.

On talks with separatists

The Chief Minister said when Mufti Mohammad Sayeed came into power in 2002, the Hurriyat leaders were given political space and they were allowed to hold rallies across the nook and corner of Jammu and Kashmir.

She said the UPA-II abandoned the reconciliation processes started by the government between 2002 and 2005 and all the confidence building measures were put on the back burner.

“That environment was created by Mufti saheb. But 2008 happened, then 2010 and now Handwara. If the processes started in 2002 would have been followed through 2009 to 2014, J&K would have been a different state. We will start the processes again. I am living my father’s dream. But in the larger interest of J&K, we will have to work together,” she said.

On Indo-Pak ties

The Chief Minister said that India and Pakistan shall have to sit across the table and find resolution to the contentious issues in the larger interest of peace and stability in the region. “We have to unshackle ourselves from the legacies of the past. Think ahead and have confidence in our self, our institutions and above all our people,” she said and added that the two countries can’t run away from the negotiations for too long as such a negative approach will only add to the miseries of the people in the region in general and J&K in particular.

“For settling disputes and ensuring peace and prosperity in the region, a forward–looking political and economic awakening has to dawn at the political leadership in our neighbourhood as well,” she said.

Calling for uninterruptable dialogue between India and Pakistan, she said the people of Jammu and Kashmir bear the brunt of hostilities between the two countries. She said India and Pakistan should come out of their aggressive politics and start exchange programs of students, doctors, scientists and artists which will boost relations between the two countries.

“Mufti Sahab wanted to improve the relations between India and Pakistan in the interest of the welfare of J&K and its people. After 2001 Parliament attack, our borders were tense. I travelled in border areas and comforted people. It is our misfortune that the peace process started by Atal Bihari Vajpayee with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf was not carried forward,” she said and added that unfortunately the goodwill generated by Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi’s Lahore visit was washed away by the dastardly attack on Pathankote air base.

Urging Pakistan to weed out the menace of terrorism, the Chief Minister said India and Pakistan should cooperate with each other on security issues. “The biggest enemy of Pakistan is terrorism. Now they have to carry out drone strikes against their own people. School children are getting killed in that country. The country has to shake hands with India for prosperity of South Asia,” she said.

On AFSPA

Ms Mehbooba said the state government is committed to revoke the Disturbed Areas Act (DAA) from the state which will pave way for doing away with the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). “But if I say that AFSPA will be revoked in four day, like Omar Abdullah did in 2011, it will be an embarrassment for me. We are taking measures to fulfil all the promises made by the PDP-BJP coalition government to the people of Jammu and Kashmir through a step-by-step approach,” she said.

On Kashmiri Migrants

Referring to the need for return of Kashmiri Pandits to the valley, the Chief Minister said the social fabric of Kashmir is incomplete without them. “We have a comprehensive policy for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandit community and many of our brethren have taken benefit from it,” she said, adding that an enabling environment will facilitate a gradual return of the community to the Kashmir valley. She said the Kashmiri Pandits, who want to return to Kashmir shall have to be provided transit accommodation till they are able to resettle at the native place. “We can’t force them to go back to their native places and put their lives to risk,” she said and added that they (KPs) shall have to be provided transit accommodation till their permanent settlement at their native places.

“The proposal of building transit accommodations for Pandits has been approved by working groups. We have migrants from different faiths including Muslims and Sikhs living in Jammu and 50 percent of these transit accommodations will be reserved for people of other faiths,” she said.

She said the state government is committed to return the Kashmiri Pandits. “I will bring them back with your help,” she said.

On Sainik Colonies

The Chief Minister said the proposal for developing a Sainik Colony in the state was mooted in 2011. She said although the Sainik Colony was proposed to be established only for the state subject ex-servicemen, however, because of the non-availability of land there has been no movement forward on the issue.

“The Sainik colony is meant for the ex-servicemen state subjects. The society under which the colony is being proposed was inaugurated by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1975. The National Conference-Congress government held many meetings with the Governor between 2011 and 2014 for the establishment on Sainik Colony. Now the Governor has again called for land identification. “But we have categorically told them that there is no land available at present,” she said.

On PoK refugees

The Chief Minister said the state government is taking tangible measures to address the issues of PoK refugees and some progress has already been made in this regard.

On rehabilitation of militants

Ms Mehbooba said her government will focus on the rehabilitation of militants who crossed the Line of Control for arms training and are now willing to resume their normal lives. “Once they return to the state, they are being treated as illegal citizens. We are committed to give them their rights and restore their dignity and honour,” she said.

Home is calling, CM to doctors 

Clearing air over the identification of sites for All India Medical Institute of Sciences (AIIMS) in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today urged professionals including doctors and engineers to come back to serve their State.

“We are in a process of setting up two AIIMSs in Kashmir and Jammu now. I would like to appeal all local doctors who are working outside to come back to the State and serve in these new upcoming institutions,” she said. She said AIIMS site has been indentified in south Kashmir’s Awantipora, while as in Jammu the site has been identified in Samba district.

On NEET Row

The Chief Minister said that there are concerns on the issue of NEET. She said the MCI Act was extended to Jammu and Kashmir in 1965 which governs admissions to medical colleges. “While the seats in the state’s medical colleges after NEET is enacted will be reserved for J&K students only, the opposition charge that the special status is being eroded due to NEET only questions the capabilities of our youths who have proven their capabilities at national and international levels,” she said.

On Unemployment

The Chief Minister said the state has to get rid of unemployment by building quality infrastructure, “Only budget won’t do wonders. Both the Centre and State Government have to work together for restoring peace and prosperity in Jammu and Kashmir,” she said.

The Legislators who earlier participated in the discussion on the motion of thanks on Governor’s address include Javed Hassan Beigh, Satpaul Sharma, Omar Abdullah, Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen, Nawang Rigzin Jora, Aga Ruhullah, Ravinder Raina, Shah Mohammad Tantray, Mohammad Amin Bhat, Mian Altaf Ahmad, Raja Manzoor, Jeewan Lal, Gulzar Ahmad Wani, G M Saroori, Dilip Singh Parihar, Abdul Rahim Rather, Bashir Ahmad Dar, Haji Abdul Rashid, Anjum Fazili, Deldan Namgiyal, Advocate Mohammad Yusuf Bhat, Dr Davinder Manyal, Usman Majeed, Chaudhary Mohammad Akram, M Y Tarigami, Ali Mohammad Sagar, Vikar Rasool Wani, Rajeev Jasrotia, Pawan Kumar Sharma, Er Abdul Rashid, Javaid Mustafa Mir, Aijaz Ahmed Khan and Ranbir Pathania.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Give me some time, I won’t let you down
  • Will be looking out to entire house for support and guidance
  • PDP formed a coalition government with BJP to respect the mandate and prevent the situation from sliding back to square one
  • Self-Rule framework is the guiding principle for resolution of the problems confronting Jammu & Kashmir and the region
  • First time since independence national consensus has emerged on JK and even BJP is now committed to protect State’s special status
  • BJP partnering with us to revive and carry forward the reconciliation and confidence building process
  • ‘Agenda of Alliance’ not event-related. It is a process which would be taken to logical conclusion
  • Issues mentioned in the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ were earlier approved during the Round Table Conferences convened by then Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh also
  • Return of power projects is part of ‘Agenda of Alliance’ and it will happen
  • Revocation of AFSPA part of Govt’s agenda
  • JK will get two Smart Cities, two AIIMS
  • No land identified for Sainik Colonies
  • Will bring Kashmiri Pandits back with dignity
  • KPs shall have to be provided transit accommodation till the situation is conducive to resettle them at their native places
  • JK’s medicos working outside should return and work in local AIIMSs
  • A new and modern economic and financial structure would constitute JK’s backbone.
  • We will ensure our young boys and girls with broad range of opportunities to develop their potential
  • Wonder why TV News channels try to portray Kashmiri youth in bad light