India, Pak alone can decide on J&K problems: Mufti
15 April 2004
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu: Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed has said the sentiments of the people of Jammu and Kashmir on issues facing the State take precedence over everything else and they have already established that they can promote the forces of peace across the sub-continent. Addressing public meetings at Kralpora, Lalpora and Tangmarg in Kupwara and Baramulla districts today, Mr Sayeed said this fact has been recognized world over and it is the assertion of the people of the State through legitimate democratic exercise that we are close to a breakthrough on opening the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road. 'Those who advocate that it is only New Delhi and Islamabad who can decide on problems of Jammu and Kashmir betray a slavish mentally which has guided their politics for decades and which resulted in endless miseries to people,' he asserted. Mr Sayeed said the blocking of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road is something that touches the skin of every Kashmiri and it is because of their assertion that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee proposed to Pakistan its reopening and received a positive response from that country. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the Chief Minister said, raised this issue when it was yet to come to power realizing that it was an important element in resolving the problems that faced Kashmir. After coming to power in coalition with Congress, the PDP continued to strive for reopening of this road and would never abandon any issue after getting people’s mandate on it as had been practice in the past. The Chief Minster said friendship between India and Pakistan is becoming a reality and Kashmir would be the biggest recipient of the peace dividend. The Mufti said that situation in the State has taken a positive turn that has been acknowledged both at national and international level. He said foreign countries are impressing upon Pakistan that the coalition Government in Jammu and Kashmir is doing a good job and it needs support to carry forward its efforts to restore peace. He said the healing touch philosophy of the government is especially receiving accolades. The Chief Minister said while the previous Government kept separatist leaders in jail, his Government, believing in the democratic process, set them free and allowed them free movement. He said those who today plead the cause of these leaders are the ones who were saying they people would remain behind the bars to rot there. 'Where was Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mohammad Yasin Malik?', he asked and said their tormentors are acting as their advocates now. Mufti Sayeed said when his Government assumed power, people were feeling sense of insecurity which situation has now been changed to that of hope and prospect. He said air of peace is blowing not only in Jammu and Kashmir but the entire sub-continent. The Chief Minister said his Government has established its credibility and although being a coalition partner of Congress party, the BJP led central Government is convinced that the plan allocations are not misused. That is why it is releasing sufficient funds to the State, he added.