India, Pak should address problem of terrorism: Mehbooba

Tourism in Jammu my prime focus, says MehboobaUDHAMPUR, J&K: Both India and Pakistan need to address the problem of terrorism like other countries which are coming closer to combat terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said today.

Talking to reporters here, she said, “Both India and Pakistan need to address the problem of terrorism and alienation of youth. If we keep fighting then this would pose a threat to our existence.”

Terming Muslim nations as the worst victims of terrorism, she said, “Nations across the world are coming closer, terrorism has emerged as the biggest challenge for all countries. Muslim nations are the worst victims of terrorism.”

Pitching strongly for peace initiatives, Mehbooba said that terrorism has emerged as the biggest threat and “the money being spent on animosity can be instead diverted towards good purpose”.

She lauded the resumption of peace talks between India and Pakistan.

“It is good that talks have resumed again. Terrorism is the biggest challenge for us. See what is happening in Syria, Libya and Pakistan. Western countries too have now such problems,” she said.

“I think it (terrorism) is a global phenomenon. It is not confined to a region or a country, it is now global. Pakistan is facing terror blasts and they are using drones to eliminate terrorists,” she said.

Mehbooba said Pakistan needs to take lessons and keep good relations with neighboring countries as it has already lost three wars to India.

“Pakistan needs to take lessons as to how long it will fight as it has lost three wars (with India) and we need to keep good relations with out neighbors,” she said.

She expressed optimism and lauded the efforts on Indo-Pak engagements for peace talks despite the deadly terrorist attack on Pathankot IAF station.

“The talks have begun. The Prime Minister had gone to Lahore where an informal meeting was held. After that, unfortunately the Pathankot incident took place, but despite that talks went on. Even recently, the talks were held,” Mehbooba said.

She said if both the countries come together and mutually resolve their issues through friendly relations, then even Jammu and Kashmir would get peace and normalcy, adding, Prime Minister’s talks on development would be possible only if there is peace.

“Peace is only interest of people of Jammu and Kashmir. We want good Indo-Pak relations as it affects us,” she said.

The State cabinet, which met under the chairpersonship of Mufti here, welcomed resumption of Indo-Pak foreign secretary level talks.

Replying to the questions, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the Foreign Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan and said the state will benefit immensely if the two neighbors come together and engage in a meaningful dialogue.

“I hope the two neighbors will be able to break ice so that lasting peace is established in the region,” she said.

The chief minister said Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance and added that a majority of Muslims, barring a few, believe in peaceful coexistence, including Indian Muslims.

“This is the reason why Indian Muslims are respected all over the world despite a cloud of suspicion hovering over Muslims at the global level. It pains me when I see hapless people in Syria, Libya and Pakistan being sucked into the vortex of violence for no fault of theirs,” she added.

Mufti said she was happy that despite Pathankot incident, the two countries have carried forward their engagement which indicates their commitment to firmly entrench peace in the region.

Describing terrorism as a global phenomenon, not confined to one region or nation, Mufti said countries are coming together to jointly fight the threat of terror.

“Terrorism is a global concern and is spreading its tentacles far and wide, even into Europe. I think the widening gap between rich and poor and the lack of employment opportunities are fuelling instability which we are witnessing now,” she said, while citing the example of US-Iran rapprochement after several decades.-PTI

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