SAARC countries going in 'reverse direction': Mehbooba

SAARC countries going in

People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti. Express archive photo.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today said it is unfortunate that SAARC countries are going in the reverse direction. Expressing dismay over the non-participation of various leaders in the region in the upcoming SAARC summit in Islamabad, she said, ‘’it is unfortunate that while other countries are forging new economic ties, the SAARC countries are going in the reverse direction.’’ Ms Mufti was addressing the gathering at the launch of Ujjawal Scheme, amid the presence of Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Union MoS Jitendra Singh. On Indus Water Treaty, the Chief Minister said the agreement, while being beneficial to India and Pakistan, is not in the interest of Jammu and Kashmir. ‘’However, if the two countries can mutually share the water resources, why not their other resources?’’ she said. The Chief Minister said violence has no place in modern societies. ‘’Those societies who lionize violence as a means to end their problems are doomed. We should look at places around the world where a saga of death and destruction has unfolded and is consuming anybody and everybody,’’ she said.

Maintaining that war is never an option to resolve the issues Ms Mufti pitched for amicable relations between India and Pakistan to fight the poverty and economic deprivation plaguing the region while underlining the need of a bilateral dialogue to resolve the issues. ‘’The two nuclear armed neighbors must cooperate in the fields of social development, including eradication of poverty and with their growing economies and energy needs, and the need for newer, more diverse markets and trading opportunities, the future of the troubled region has to be defined by common economic interests instead of hostilities,’’ she maintained. ‘’Instead of fighting wars with each other, the two countries should join hands to eradicate poverty and to address social problems plaguing the region. Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Pakistan with this message on behalf of people of J&K but the Pathankote incident shattered that process,’’ she said.

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