PDP Welcomes EC's Decision On J&K Polls

14 October 2008
The Times of India

Srinagar: Welcoming Election Commission's decision to defer announcement of assembly poll in Jammu and Kashmir, the People's Democratic Party on T uesday said the Centre must now reach out to people of the state with conciliatory and confidence-building measures to address their concerns. 'While deferring of the decision on election is a welcome step, the government must now initiate a sustained process of reconciliation to rebuild people's confidence,' PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said in a statement here. She said components of such a process should include initiating dialogue with various sections of society, cutting the strength of troops deployed on internal security duties and revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. Measures recommended by Prime Minister's working groups on Jammu and Kashmir should also form part of the process, Mehbooba said. Without this, the peace process would have no meaning, she said. 'Opening of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakote routes for cross-LoC trade on October 21 is a significant step towards addressing external dimensions of the Kashmir issue. 'But, we have to move equally fast and with determination to address internal dimensions of the problem as well,' the PDP chief said. She said the government must reach out to people of the state with conciliatory and confidence-building measures. These steps should aimed at addressing their political, administrative and economic concerns, Mehbooba said. In New Delhi, Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami, at a press conference, said the Commission had not taken any decision yet on holding election in the border state.