Senior Peoples Democratic Party leader Ghulam Hassan Mir on Thursday credited the Mufti-Azad coalition government for pulling the state out of the quagmire of violence and brining it on the peace map of the world.
Mir, a founder PDP leader and former tourism, housing and urban development minister, speaking for the motion of thanks on the governor's joint address to the state legislature in the afternoon session of the assembly, said that the state, which used to remain in headlines for militancy-related violence, was catching the attention of people for peace process in the region.
"Whenever India and Pakistan have been in a state of confrontation, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have suffered. Now peace is in the air on the borders, where people in the past suffered most," he said.
Mir also lauded the opposition National Confernece for playing a responsible role in the ongoing peace process between New Delhi and Islamabad and with the separatists. However, he added that it was the PDP which had showed the way for the political parties of working for bringing peace and prosperity in the state.
"Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah also called for the opening of the trans-LOC and trans-border roads. We also called for the opening of the roads with good intention and the roads were opened. Now we are stressing for trans-LoC and trans-border trade and inshallah (God willing), it will also happen," he said.
Mir also claimed that the PDP had changed the thinking of the people of Kashmir who used to feel that only the separatists cared for them. "After out government came to power, they have realised that their problems can be better addressed from the mainstream platform," he said.
On the issue of human rights violations in the state, Mir asked the security forces to exhibit maximum restrain. "Human rights violations were not restricted to our security forces only. Militants also indulge in these violations," he said.
However, he asked the intervention of Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in seeing to it that the security forces do not harass the common masses by unnecessarily frisking. "I hope the CM would take up this issue," he said.
Mir also lauded the chief minister for launching a crusade against corruption. But he quickly added that the officers shrieking away from their jobs should also be dealt in severely.
"Some officers for saving their skin try to be on the safer side and do not take up any work," Mir said about the inaction of the bureaucrats and officers.
The former minister also backed the chief minister for increasing the number of districts in the state from 14 to 22 saying that after the administration in the new districts, which is expected to be in place by April, the problems of people living in these areas would be solved to a considerable extent.
Mir, who was elected to the legislative assembly with a thumping win over his rival in the 2002 assembly polls from the picturesque Tangmarg constituency, said that when National Conference government was in power in the state, they were not able to get much funds from the New Delhi for the state.
"Even with their government in the state and NC president Omar Abdullah being the minister at Centre, NC was not able to get much funds from the then NDA government at Centre. Once the coalition government came in power under Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the Centre-state relations have been exemplary and there is a tremendous flow of funds by the Centre," Mir said, adding insult to the injuries of NC legislators who were curiously hearing his speech.
He also hailed the coalition government for removing the regional discrimination. "We took people from all the three regions with us, involved them in the decision-making and hence the issue of regional discrimination was put to rest," the PDP leader said. He also informed that the major portion of the prime minister's package to the state was being utilised in giving a thrust to the power sector. "But there have been some bottlenecks. The Baglihar power project hasn't taken off because of the international treaty and there were some problems with the Sawlakote project as well," he said.
Mir also called on the chief minister to look into the causes why the work on four micro-hydropower projects had not taken off for which the government had gone for privatisation. He also emphasised on creating employment opportunities for the youth. "In the past the state youth used to take up arms. Now they are not. But the government has to provide employment opportunities to them. Government jobs are not the sole solution other employment avenues need to be created," Mir said.