Best Time To Resolve Kashmir Issue: Mehbooba23 May 2011
The Hindustan Times
Jammu: Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti wants the Centre and other stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir to look beyond the “peaceful summer” and instead take initiatives to “resolve the Kashmir problem.” “This is the best time to do so,” she said. The opposition leader told HT on Monday one spell of peaceful summer was not an end in itself. “It is an opportunity to seize the moment and do something substantive to address the problem, peace offers best timing to do so,” she said, cautioning against taking peace for granted or rushing for solutions when things go wrong. Kashmir Valley, the scene of three turbulent summers since 2008, with 2010 being the worst when street protests and clashes lasted for over four months and left more than 110 dead and hundreds wounded. 2011 is a picture in contrast. More than 90% voters have taken part in the first 10 of the 16-phase panchayat elections, despite boycott calls by separatists and nearly three lakh tourists have visited the state. Mufti felt the separatists had been pushed to the wall by the ruling National Conference thus, “making them relevant in certain quarters”. Lashing at the NC, she said, “No party’s house is ever in order ideally, but when testing times come, we all are united. The party stood like a rock during the last month’s legislative council elections, whereas the NC lured BJP MLAs as it was uncertain of itself and its members”.