October 2006 News

Kashmir is key to peace, says Mufti

22 October 2006
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Anantnag: Ahead of his visit as head of a non-official delegation to the United Nations, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, said that the State had a pivotal role in shaping the subcontinent's political and economic scenario as it would be a hub of rapid and momentous activity. It would also facilitate the region's economic integration with the world, he added. Mr. Sayeed, who returned to Srinagar on Sunday after a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, told a public meeting here that the region could no longer afford the conflict that had kept its people away from realising the benefits of peace and global economic integration. 'To make the peace process productive, I have reiterated the need to accelerate the implementation of the J&K specific CBMs that have so far remained restrictive and symbolic,' Mr. Sayeed said, referring to his meeting with Dr. Singh. He also stressed the need to expedite Central projects, including the Srinagar-Udhampur railway line and the North-South corridor, to provide better connectivity to the State and free its people from the 'mentality of siege.' He also stressed the need for a fresh initiative to resume the stalled dialogue with separatist groups to take on board all shades of political opinion. People's Democratic Party, Mehbooba Mufti, said: 'It is now being widely acknowledged that the PDP's 'healing touch' policy has made a tremendous impact on the ground situation by phenomenally reducing alienation.' There is a need to consolidate these gains by taking bold initiatives with political will, she suggested.


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