The state's main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday expressed disappointment over Kashmir being left out in fresh Indo-Pak confidence building measures(CBM's) signed in Islamabad on Saturday.
"J&K should have been the first to benefit from Indo-Pak reconciliation since it had suffered the most due to the animosity and hostility between the two nations. However, it seems Kashmir has been edged out and left out in the CBMs signed," said Mehbooba.
Her statement came in the backdrop of Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers easing visa regime, allowing less-restricted tourism and trade, and easy movement of senior citizens between the two countries.
The two countries agreed upon these CBM's in Islamabad on Saturday. But no major decision was taken on the Kashmir issue.
"Why the steps like allowing movement of people, besides relatives, are not being extended to routes in Kashmir, which connects with the other Kashmir? When Wagah can open for trade, tourism etc why not Kashmir routes?" she said.
Threatening to start an agitation against the two countries for "ignoring" Kashmir, Mehbooba said, "This will further deepen the sense of alienation."
The PDP president claimed that the peace process started between the two countries in 2003 "created a positive atmosphere in the state".
"The reconciliation started in Kashmir in 2003 with the opening of roads and ceasefire. These evolutionary steps taken without working groups and interlocutors changed the ground situation in the valley," she added.
She said that the Kashmir-centric CBMs, agreed between the two countries last year, should be implemented to sustain positive atmosphere in the state.
"Kargil-Skardu road, expansion of travel facility to people besides divided families, banking facility for traders on both sides of were agreed upon last time and the same should be implemented," she said adding, "instead the trade has been left in a limbo."
Mehbooba expressed apprehension over the two countries "trying to end the process of trade and travel between the parts of Kashmir". "They want to move back instead of moving ahead," she said.
Terming Kashmir as a bridge between India and Pakistan, Mehbooba said, "J&K should be the first to reap benefits out of the reconciliation process. The Prime Minister is committed to make borders irrelevant here but, unfortunately, that process is restricted to Wagah only," she said.
The PDP president claimed that situation is deteriorating in Kashmir with juveniles and old leaders being put behind the bars by the present dispensation.