Process of Indo-Pak reconciliation has to begin with Kashmir: Mehbooba

Srinagar, Mar 20 (PTI) PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said on Saturday that the leadership of India and Pakistan should realise that the route to peace in the subcontinent traverses through the Valley, adding that any bonhomie between the two neighbours should put Kashmir and Kashmiris at the forefront.

The remarks came after Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa had said on Thursday that it was time for the two countries to “bury the past and move forward”, asserting that the peace between the neighbours would help to “unlock” the potential of south and central Asia.

Addressing party workers at Kulgam, Mufti said any renewed thaw in the relationship between the two countries was subservient to the progress made towards addressing the long-pending demands of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The People Democratic Party leader said the Pakistan Army chief’s statement was a positive development.

“But we must be reminded that aiming for a low-hanging fruit like movement of goods and people through the Wagah border or giving India a passage to central Asia via Pakistan and Afghanistan while putting Kashmir issue at the back burner is akin to missing wood for the trees,” Mufti said.

“If they are really sincere and mean business, they must know that the process of reconciliation has to begin with Kashmir. While statements back and forth indicate a movement forward, but people of Jammu and Kashmir continue to be shrouded in the veil of darkness without any reprieve in sight,” she added. PTI