On I-Day Mehbooba bats for porous borders, free trade zone

Says ‘give me some time to normalize Kashmir’

Srinagar, Aug15 (KNS): Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday appealed to the leadership of Indi and Pakistan to come together for establishing a free trade zone by opening more and more road links between the divided parts of Jammu & Kashmir to further the agenda of peace and political stabilization in the state .
According to KNS correspondent, after hoisting tricolor at the main Independence Day parade at Bakshi Stadium she sought more time for restoring peace and normalcy in restive parts of Kashmir valley. She called upon the upon the youth of Kashmir to shun the path of violence and the Indo-Pak leadership to end hostility which according to her are only two ways to create congenial atmosphere for starting a dialogue to resolve all the long pending issues. Elaborating Chief Minister said “India and Pakistan can make Jammu and Kashmir a model for SAARC by making borders irrelevant between the divided parts of Jammu & Kashmir and change both the divided parts of the state into a free trading zone.”
Mehbooba regretted that despite Islam’s message of hospitality, even basic hospitality was ignored during Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s recent visit to Pakistan. The Chief Minister appealed India and Pakistan to come together and work for peace in both parts of the divided Kashmir. “So much blood has flown in the Jehlum River and it has no capacity to bear further bloodshed,” she said.
Exuding confidence that Modi government at the centre will initiate political process on Kashmir, Mehbooba said ‘Democracy has been limited to elections only. What is the reason for it? We have witnessed uprisings in the years 2008, 2010 and people are disappointed over the way trouble is occurring and reoccurring. The central government has to look into. I am happy both houses of the parliament debated crisis in Kashmir and debated well the issues confronting Jammu & Kashmir at an all party meeting in Delhi in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After 2008 and 2010 mass uprisings a process was initiated on Kashmir but left mid-way. I have a firm belief that under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi political process would be started for long lasting peace in Kashmir and hope the central government will not let people of Kashmir disappointed this time”
Saying that peace was imperative for equal development of all the three regions of the state Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said “I ensured that civilians are not used as human shield during anti-militancy operations. I am sad because certain elements are using our youths as a shield to fulfil there notorious desires. These elements are trying to achieve their objectives through violence.” Addressing the angered populations of Kashmir Chief Minister said “Thousands have died in the state in 1990s but what did we achieve? During the past 40 days we handed our youths to these vested interests who are using them as cannon fodder.” She said that her government needed time for healing of the wounds left behind by the trail of death and destruction which has left at least 57 people dead in the valley. She regretted that whenever schools are opened by the government, people come out to force closure of those institutions. Mehbooba said the present disturbance had retarded the pace of development in the state. Senior ministers, senior civil and military officials were present during the Independence Day parade at Bakshi Stadium Srinagar. Authorities have imposed curfew in the entire Srinagar and all other nine districts in the valley to prevent violence on the country’s 70th Independence Day celebration. (KNS)

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