PDP Initiated Peace Process -Mufti

18 February 2009
Kashmir Observer

Srinagar: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has said that the much talked about peace process was initiated at the behest of PDP. He said that the road to peace, stability, progress and prosperity in South Asia passes through Jammu & Kashmir. Reports reaching Press Bureau of India said that the former Chief Minister was addressing a function organized in connection with the joining of Lok Jan Shakti (LJP) and BSP leaders. Sayeed said that an amicable settlement of Jammu & Kashmir offers the only opportunity of a breakthrough for India and Pakistan to co-exist peacefully. He said Jammu & Kashmir, in recent years has shown the way forward and it is for New Delhi and Islamabad to respond positively to the people's yearning for peace and a permanent settlement of the issue. The PDP Patron said continuation of the historic peace process set off on 18th April 2003 by the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and carried on by his successor Manmohan Singh was a historical necessity. 'Neither country could afford to go back on it, nor would Kashmir issue disappear by whatever else happens around it,' Mufti said. Referring to the internal dimension of the problem of Jammu & Kashmir, Sayeed said there were important and well-defined issues to be resolved between the State and the Union. 'Most of them had been covered by the Working Groups constituted by the Prime Minister,' he said and added these recommendations should not prove mere pieces of paper and would have to be acted upon in the interest of the people of the State and the country. The PDP, he said will with all its public support work for implementation of these recommendations for the larger public good. Mufti said the current crisis on economic, financial and infrastructure fronts confronting the State cannot be met with small-time responses of the Government. He said patchworks cannot improve the quality of life of the State's people and the larger issue of exploitation of State's water and land resources has to be addressed to take care of the State's development needs in the 21st century. The PDP Patron said all regions of the State are facing economic deprivation because of wanton exploitation of our water and natural resources. He said economic empowerment of the common people including our youth can be achieved only if we have a free and unlimited access to our own resources. 'The Central Government will only have to create an enabling atmosphere in which we can seek and receive direct financial investment in the State,' Sayeed said. Unfortunately, this has been discouraged in J&K and instead our water resources were usurped first in the 1950's by sealing the rights on them to the central government under the Indus Water Treaty and later during the last National Conference regime that signed away all the major identified power projects mostly on Chenab and Jehlum to the NHPC, he said. 'This unimaginative action has now rendered the State to economic destitution with the Doda and Kishtwar districts today facing a double-edged weapon,' he said and demanded review of all such actions that are detrimental to the State's economic interests. The PDP Patron said that the Working Groups and the Prime Minister's Special Task Force on Economic Development of Jammu & Kashmir have strongly recommended transfer of Center-owned power projects to the State. 'The Government of India must act on these recommendations with sincerity of purpose to address the State's economic and financial woes,' he said.