Bus Service Not Ultimate Solution To Kashmir: Mufti
11 March 2005
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Chief Minister Mufti Mohd Sayeed has said that the bus service to Muzaffarabad was not the ultimate solution to the Kashmir issue and for this, dialogue with all, including Pakistan and even those not believing in accession of J&K with India, was important. Replying to the discussion on the motion of thanks on Governor's address in the Upper House today, the Chief Minister said that merely introduction of bus-service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad was not the ultimate solution to the Kashmir issue. For this, the dialogue with all sections was must.' There is no harm in talking to separatists and others', he maintained. The Chief Minister said that his party has always advocated for initiating dialogue because only this was the right way to settle all the issues. 'Gun is no solution to any problem and we have always opposed it. We believe in democracy and democracy is the battle of ideas. Our Government is striving for restoration of peace and normalcy and it has succeeded in changing the situation and creating a congenial atmosphere for initiating peace talks and improving relations with our neighbouring country, ' he maintained. Referring to the opening of Uri-Muzaffarabad road Mufti Sayeed said, 'we do not want to take credit for it, but the coalition Government created an atmosphere for it. It was people's initiative as well who want peace and believe in democracy. Infact, it was people's pressure and determination for turning the situation. Every Kashmiri wants to live with dignity and peace. The last Assembly elections, Lok Sabha polls and now civic body polls and high percentage of voter turn out even up to 70 and 90 percent in parts of Kashmir valley has sent a message all over the world that every person here wants peace and have respect for democracy, he said. Commenting on the remarks of opposition members, the Chief Minister said when the coalition Government in the State erected milestones at some places on Srinagar-Uri-Muzaffarabad road, some people termed it a 'foolish joke' with the people of J&K. 'I was fully convinced and had strong hope that this road will reopen soon and his government's serious approach will be taken care of by the Centre. The Centre and UPA Government's chairperson Sonia Gandhi also realised that Coalition Government in J&K was serious in delivering goods to the people and they always cooperated with us and provided sufficient funds for development projects and infrastructure reconstruction process. He said with the opening of roads the people who have relations on the either side will be able to meet them and people to people contact will certainly remove several misunderstandings. By opening this road the Government of India has shown the confidence of the country in the people of Jammu and Kashmir. On recent rains, heavy snow fall and human loss, the Chief Minister said that snow is the blessing of God for Kashmiris and it brings prosperity including water. It also adds beauty to the Kashmir valley and attracts lakhs of tourists. But unfortunately the snowfall was even more than 15 to 20 feet in some areas and caused maximum devastation due to avalanches resulting into deaths of several human beings. He extended thanks to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi for extending all help and lauded the role of Army and Air Force in providing relief and carrying on massive rescue operation besides according help in clearing Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. Appreciating the Centre's initiative of withdrawal of troops, Mufti Sayeed said that it was a bold decision. 'We hope that with the gradual improvement in the situation the troops will go to perform their real role on the border and police force take control of maintaining general law and order in the civilian areas. He said for promotion of tourism, some hotels and other buildings are also being got vacated in the cities and towns. The Chief Minister while pointing towards NPP member Prof Bhim Singh, said, ' we should not confine ourselves within Wazir Commission only. Merely creating two-three districts is not going to help all. There are many important works and achievements of the coalition Government and those achievements must be admired.' He further claimed that Government was committed to go ahead with the 900 MW Baghliar power project and was seriously involved in the negotiations with Norwegian agency for Sawalakot hydel project (1200 MW) on Chenab. With this power problem in the State will be overcome. Besides power, tourism and education are also priority areas for which Government was serious. He rejected the objection of the Government of Pakistan and maintained that they have not violated the Indus Water Treaty. He assured that Accountability Commissioner will be appointed shortly after current session of Legislature. The Government was going to fill up about 20,000 vacancies soon in the State, he maintained. In response to NC members' remarks regarding autonomy, the Chief Minister said what type of autonomy they are talking of, whether it is fiscal autonomy or the political autonomy. But in regard to the fiscal autonomy several measures are going and moreover fiscal autonomy is more important. But they have always confused the masses over it and there are lot of contradictions as well.