Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who recently quit after ruling the state for over three years with the support of the BJP, on Saturday said that the Valley should be allowed to join ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)’ developed by China.
"Open access to Kashmir, we must join CPEC developed by China, open trade route between Nowshera, Jammu-Sialkot, we must also try open route to Shardha peeth for Kashmiri Pandits," Mufti said in an interview with India TV.
On being asked that her strategies to open borders will lead to more infiltration, Mufti said that the terrorists don’t use regularised trade routes to infiltrate but use other isolated border areas to cross to the LoC.
While Mufti, a former BJP aide supports China’s CPEC, the Indian government has consistently been objecting the trade route as it violates its territorial integrity by passing through a part of Kashmir, illegally occupied by Pakistan.
During the interview, the People Democratic Party (PDP) chief reiterated that the bloodshed in Kashmir cannot be solved with guns and India should indulge in dialogue with Pakistan to end the violence in the Valley.
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“Talks with Pakistan is the only way out. Like Vajpayee, we should have talks with Pakistan not once, or twice, but for many, many times. Kashmir issue cannot be solved with guns… Surgical strike was carried out, did it end bloodshed? To stop bloodshed in Kashmir, we will have to stop Pakistan, and that can be done only through talks,” she said.
Mufti said that the people of Kashmir were becoming the victim of India-Pakistan rivalry and added that the solution to India’s Kashmir problem lied in former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s “insaaniyat, Kashmiriyat” policy.
“Pakistan had been involved (in fomenting violence) in Kashmir since the beginning. But Kashmiris are becoming the casualty of India-Pakistan rivalry. Whether it is today, or tomorrow, or 10 years hence, the solution to Kashmir problem lies in following Vajpayee’s path (of insaaniyat, Kashmiriyat),” she added.