Reacting to the reports that the Centre is in the process of reviewing the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday said that the treaty, while being beneficial to India and Pakistan, is not in the interest of Jammu and Kashmir.
"India and Pakistan can work together to revise the treaty and allow us to harness the rich water resources in the state. We can tell our country people that we should revise the IWT, but we can't tell that to Pakistan. The two countries should work together for peace. If the two countries can share water, why not their other resources?" an emotional Mufti told a gathering in Srinagar.
Mufti said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Pakistan with the message of peace on behalf of people of Jammu and Kashmir, but the Pathankot attack shattered that process.
“Our party became the harbinger of peace when my father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, spoke of nursing the wounds of people, when the memory of Kargil war was still afresh," she said.
"In times of war, Mufti saheb urged India and Pakistan to get involved in talks and start a process of reconciliation. In 2002, we formed the government with Congress when NDA was ruling at the Centre. Atalji (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) understood Mufti saheb's point of view which had ushered in a new era of peace and prosperity in the state," she added.
After the PDP-BJP government's failure to contain the violence in the state, Mufti appealed to the gathering to give her government a chance to run and pitched for a stronger relation between India and Pakistan to fight the economic stagnation plaguing the region. She also underlined the need of a bilateral dialogue to resolve the political issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Give us a chance, there are four and half years (left for her government). You did not give us time (to run a smooth government). Tell your kids (stone-pelters) to go home. Give opportunity to me and my government, PDP and BJP,” Mufti said.
“I have 80 holes in my heart (referring to deaths of over 80 youths in security force firing). Those kids, who should be playing, were instigated to attack police stations, Army camps. What do you think the reaction from the forces will be?" she asked.
Kashmir had been witnessing violence and unrest since 8 July — the day Hizbul commander Burhan Wani was killed. The violence that followed has left around 90 people dead and thousands injured. The government has employed strong-arm measures to restore order, but has so far failed to enforce its writ.
Mufti said the People's Democratic Party, of which she is the president, entered into an alliance with the BJP to take forward the mission of restoration of peace in Jammu and Kashmir. “The Assembly was in session. There was an encounter in which three militants were killed. What wrong have I done? What is my fault?”, she asked.
Hitting out at the Opposition for targeting the coalition government, the chief minister said the same parties, who want to keep the pot boiling in Kashmir, sold their mandate in the past to remain in power.
"Those speaking against us used to talk in the language of war when they were in power. Mufti saheb knew that Modi has the mandate of the entire country, which was why we shook hands with the BJP. We have lost widows and orphans. How long are we going to fight with each other?" she said.
“We endured your hatred (for stitching alliance with BJP) and Modi came to power by winning a majority. If anybody can find a solution to the Kashmir issue, it is this government,” she said.
“If Muslims are safe anywhere in the world, it is in our country,” Mufti said.