Giving wings to her father Late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s dream of making Suchetgarh Jammu and Kashmir’s Wagah, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti yesterday said that she will be delighted if the border town is promoted as a people-to-people meeting point with Sialkot, in Pakistan, across the International Border (IB). She urged media to highlight the cultural camaraderie that exists between the people of India and Pakistan.
“I wonder if hostilities can become news between the two neighbours, why can’t cultural bonhomie,” she asked, while touring border areas of Suchetgarh and shrine of Baba Chamliyal, revered by people on both sides of the IB. Drawing comparisons, Mehbooba said that if Iran and USA could become friends, what stops India and Pakistan from coming close to each other.
This statement of Mehbooba is reflection of her father’s desire to see the two nations coming closer to each other and holding hands. Mufti wanted India to build bridges with Pakistan despite the fact that there has been virtually no serious effort to stem import of terror to this side of both line of control as well as International Border (IB). Ex-Chief Minister wanted India to take steps towards making Pakistan realize the fundamental mistake of supporting terrorists and their sympathizers.
Now that Mehboob has stuck the same chord, it appears that she has some idea about what Prime Minister Narendra Modi is thinking about dealing with Pakistan. Some confidence building measures are likely to be announced in the days ahead but more or less, everything would depend-on how Pakistan behaves in the days to come. Prime Minister Narendra Modi did make an unscheduled visit to Pakistan but his effort to reach out was followed by Pakistan backed terror groups launching an attack on the Indian Air Base in Pathankote.
This was embarrassing both for Prime Minister as well as the team which was behind the unscheduled visit to Pakistan. Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif should make honest efforts to reign-in terror groups who have already caused immense loss to both the nations economically as well as militarily. He has to create an environment where the country he is leading could be trusted. He has to make the powerful Pakistan Army realize their folly of supporting terror groups.
He has to stop ISI from backing extremist elements in Pakistan. If Nawaz takes one step towards addressing the serious issue of trust deficit between the two nations, India is likely to reciprocate with ten steps. And this would in-turn help Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in realizing her father’s dream of making Jammu and Kashmir a permanent peace bridge between India and Pakistan. Mehbooba’s yearning for peace between India and Pakistan would be beneficial both for the people of Jammu and Kashmir as well as those living in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and Pakistan.