Jammu and Kashmir's ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday said peace and political stability were imperative for development and economic prosperity of the state as it welcomed the agreement between India and Pakistan to defuse tension along borders in the region.
"The latest agreement between India and Pakistan to maintain peace along the borders, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, is an encouraging move and we would be looking forward to consolidation of peace efforts in the region," PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said while addressing a party convention in north Kashmir's Bandipora district.
At the conclusion of the three-day DG-level talks between Border Security Force and Pak Rangers in New Delhi yesterday, the two sides agreed to jointly resolve sensitive issues like ceasefire violations and cross-border infiltration besides deciding to put a complete ban on firing of mortar shells along International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir which has claimed the lives of several civilians.
Terming the 2003 ceasefire agreement as the most significant step taken by the two countries for sustainability of peace process, Mehbooba, Member of Parliament from south Kashmir's Anantnag constituency, said the truce should be maintained at any cost.
"People of Jammu and Kashmir have highest stakes in peace as they are the worst sufferers of hostility in the region," she said.
Stating that normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan was in the interest of both the countries, the PDP president expressed hope that the political leadership in New Delhi and Islamabad would lead the dialogue and peace process from the front to usher the region into an era economic prosperity.
"If bilateral trade worth millions of rupees can go on between the two countries daily via Wagah border, why to indulge blood spilling along the borders in Jammu and Kashmir.
"Instead of trading canon fire and charges, India and Pakistan should trade goods through Line of Control as is being done in Punjab," she said.
Mehbooba said the present situation necessitates some bold measures to build people's confidence and address their genuine developmental concerns.
"At present what is needed the most is the political will and trust in the people of the state, especially the youth, only then can the dialogue and the peace process culminate in everlasting peace, not only in Jammu and Kashmir, but the whole subcontinent," she said.
She said the greatest contribution of the PDP-led government between 2002 and 2005 was that it tried to build people's stakes in the peace and development.
"This became the fundamental input for the turn-around in the ground situation at that time. The central leadership at that time also appreciated the turnaround in the overall situation in the state and responded to it with historic and imaginative confidence building measures.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi should take the lead in reaching out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir through substantive political and economic measures to address the resurgent wave of alienation and cynicism, especially among the youth," she said.
The PDP president said the people of the state have time and again reposed their trust in the democratic means and the same needs to be reciprocated in equivalent manner through substantive measures.
Mehbooba said the PDP-BJP coalition government is making efforts to devise a comprehensive policy for incorporating both social and job security.
"Their problems are many and varied and their aspirations naturally high. Not only the government but the whole nation, including individuals, institutions and organisations, have to be brought together in a spirit of creative enterprise to widen the economic and employment space for the state's youth," she said, adding the state government has already initiated various measures to provide productive employment to the youth.
She urged the youth to shun the path of violence and focus on their studies and career.
"Instead of carrying guns and stones in their hands, the misguided youth should get a pen in its place to transform their lives," she said.