Give me a chance to gov­ern: Me­hbooba

Only Modi can solve cri­sis, Pak­istan de­railed peace process, says J& K CM

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Iftikhar Gi­lani iftikhar. gi­lani@ dnain­dia. net

New Delhi: Jammu and Kash­mir chief min­is­ter Me­hbooba Mufti on Satur­day ap­pealed to the peo­ple to give her a chance to ad­dress the cri­sis in the state, un­der­lin­ing the fact that she has been in power for just three months and a half.

“I ap­peal to all those protest­ing in the streets. You may be an­gry with me, I may be an­gry with you. But please give me one chance to ad­dress your con­cerns and as­pi­ra­tions,” she said.

In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with dna, af­ter her 45- minute- meet­ing with Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, for the first time since the un­rest broke in the state on July 8, Me­hbooba said she out­lined a three­p­ronged ac­tion dur­ing the meet­ing.

It in­cluded the in­volve­ment of sep­a­ratists and Pak­istan in a sub­stan­tive di­a­logue and a so­lu­tion in the light of the con­tem­po­rary geopo­lit­i­cal re­al­i­ties. But she re­fused to divulge de­tails.

Me­hbooba said that good gov­er­nance in her state was linked to peace­ful re­la­tions be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan. “How can you gov­ern and un­der­take de­vel­op­ment- re­lated work when there are ten­sions?” she said. On this front, she blamed Is­lam­abad for not re­spond­ing to Modi’s peace over­tures.

“PM Modi reached out to Pak­istan, went to La­hore, but then Pathankot hap­pened. Home min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh also went to Is­lam­abad. Un­for­tu­nately, Pak­istan has re­peat­edly given up the chances to talk and re­solve the is­sue of vi­o­lence in Kash­mir. Now, it is again time for Pak­istan ( to re­spond),” she said. Only Modi, with a mas­sive man­date, can re­vive the process, she said. Me­hbooba, how­ever, skirted ques­tions on the PM’s re­cent pro­nounce­ments on Balochis­tan and Pak­istan- oc­cu­pied Kash­mir ( PoK).

Fifty- seven- year- old Me­hbooba, mother of two daugh­ters and one of the few women politi­cians from Kash­mir, said she asked Modi to put in place an in­sti­tu­tion­alised mech­a­nism to ad­dress the is­sue. “I asked for re­viv­ing the rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and res­o­lu­tion process, which was ini­ti­ated by the then NDA govern­ment headed by Atal Bi­hari Va­j­payee be­tween 2002 and 2005,” she said.

It was the brush­ing of is­sues un­der the car­pet, as in 2008 and 2010, that has re­sulted in the cur­rent un­rest, Me­hbooba said. “The coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship must com­mit it­self to ad­dress all di­men­sions of the prob­lem in a man­ner that bal­ances and pro­motes en­dur­ing po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic sta­bil­ity in the state and the re­gion,” she said.

She ex­pressed con­fi­dence that cur­rent ten­sions would not de­rail the South Asian As­so­ci­a­tion for Re­gional Co­op­er­a­tion sum­mit and the PM’s visit to Is­lam­abad.

“The coali­tion govern­ment will sup­port and strengthen the ini­tia­tives by the govern­ment to cre­ate a rec­on­cil­ia­tory en­vi­ron­ment for ush­er­ing in peace and de­vel­op­ment in the sub­con­ti­nent,” she said while read­ing a pas­sage from the joint PDP- BJP doc­u­ment.

— PTI

J& K chief min­is­ter Me­hbooba Mufti ad­dresses the me­dia af­ter her meet­ing with Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi in New Delhi on Satur­day.

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