People's Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Wednesday hailed the Centre's decision to confer Bharat Ratna on former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
"Vajpayee deserved country's highest honour not only for his contribution in India's political arena but for his historic peace and reconciliation initiatives in and around Jammu and Kashmir," Sayeed said in a statement here.
"The political sagacity, maturity and vision of Vajpayee and extension of friendship to Pakistan in the aftermath of the Parliament attack and the ceasefire announced by him are some of the historic confidence building measures which dawned a new era of peace and tranquility in the state and the region," he said.
Sayeed recalled the former Prime Minister's historic speech in Srinagar on April 18, 2003 wherein he had extended a hand of friendship towards Pakistan at a time when there was an eyeball to eyeball situation on the borders.
"It is a matter of great satisfaction for me personally as having worked with Mr Vajpayee, I know how he responded positively and effectively to the great yearning for peace and democratic spirit in Jammu and Kashmir," Sayeed said.
The former Chief Minister, whose party, PDP, has emerged as the single largest party in state Assembly elections, also referred to Vajpayee's assertion that Kashmir issue will be resolved within the ambit of humanity.
"Also, to address the external dimension of Kashmir problem, Vajpaee had adopted policy of reconciliation saying (Hum Dost Badel Saktay Hain Humsaya Nahi)," Sayeed said.
The PDP leader expressed hope that the government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pursue the policies of Vajpayee on Jammu and Kashmir as a tribute to the great politician and statesman.
Sayeed also welcomed the government's decision to confer Bharat Ratna on the freedom fighter Madan Mohan Malviya.