Jammu: With Parliamentary by-polls only three weeks away, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is back at raising emotive issues, suggesting to New Delhi to avail the benefits of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Describing Jammu and Kashmir as the gateway to Central Asia, she said it could become a corridor of economic activity in the region, and the country could take huge benefit of the economic activities going on across LoC.
“Why can’t we be partners in economic growth and share the benefits of projects like CPEC. Let us move beyond skirmishes," she told a gathering in Delhi.
She strongly advocated for opening of more routes across LoC and initiation of political process to address the challenges confronting the state.
She said fostering cooperation across LoC would not only bring political stability across the region but also improve the lot of the local people.
“It would make the region a hub of emerging economic opportunities leading to cooperation in trade, commerce, tourism, adventure across the region," she added.
Mufti sought the opening of historic routes in the state including Jammu-Sialkot route.
Mufti urged the Centre to initiate confidence building measures including dialogue with all shades of opinion to ensure peace in the state.
Invoking former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his inclusive vision, she said during his tenure Vajpayee worked on both the internal and external dimensions of the challenges confronting J&K and conducted an honourable outreach, resulting in an environment of peace and relaxation among the people.
"And when the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed raised the demand of opening of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road in 2003, it was positively reciprocated and consequently the graph of violence in the state fell down and focus shifted on good governance," she added.
She expressed optimism that Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who is credited with taking very bold decisions, would further carry forward this vision to usher the state and the region in an era of peace, stability and prosperity.
“We should not shy away from taking bold steps like AFSPA revocation from certain areas to begin with," she said, adding that experiences have shown that governance alone cannot win over people and it has to be backed by a substantive political process on the ground.
She said the Indus Water Treaty is discriminatory to the state, the return of power projects should also be thought to compensate the state for its losses.