The road to become ‘Vishwaguru’ goes through J&K and SAARC, not G7, G20 or Quad: Mehbooba Mufti

Srinagar: Senior politician and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Mehbooba Mufti said on Thursday that India’s road to becoming a viswaguru where the world leader goes through Jammu and Kashmir.

Training his guns in the central government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir said that until the Kashmir issue is resolved it will obstruct the ambition of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in power to rule the world.

“India can become a viswaguru because it has democracy and secularism to deserve the title, but you are ravaging it. You should put your own house in order and only then can this dream come true,” said Mehbooba, coaching Modi and his party.

The former BJP ally, who during the PDP-BJP coalition government in the former J&K state between 2014 and 2018, was addressing a rally in Lal Chowk neighborhood in Srinagar attended by over 2,000 workers and party members. The rally was held to mark the 23rd day of the party’s founding and came just days after the BJP held a rally in the city center in what many saw as ‘preparatory work’ for the elections in the ‘Assembly.

Senior PDP leaders also addressed party workers and reiterated what they called their commitment to finding a solution to the Kashmir issue, on which the leaders said the party was founded.

Mehbooba Mufti also advocated for reviving India-Pakistan relations and developing relations between the countries under the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), an eight-member group that includes India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

She said the biggest obstacle to engagement in SAARC was the relationship between India and Pakistan which needed to be restored.

“India is still unable to lead its own neighbors like Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and other SAARC countries. India should realize that the way to become a viswaguru goes through SAARC and not through the G7, G20 or Quad,” she added.

The former CM said the PDP was not just a party but a “movement” against injustice, recalling how its founding leader Mufti Sayeed convinced former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to engage in dialogue with Hurriyat leaders like Yasin Malik who is currently in jail, Umer Farooq, Shabir Shah and also with Pakistan.

Mehbooba said she will continue to talk about Pakistan until there are 10 lakh forces stationed in the area. She also called for engagement with the highly publicized China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“J&K has the potential to become a gateway to Central and South Asia and should become a model state for SAARC cooperation. Why can’t this part of Kashmir become strategic for the world like Pakistan and China have done for their respective parts of Kashmir,” she said.

Lashing out at BJP, PDP leader reminds party leaders that history will not remember them for demolishing mosques and changing names of roads and towns, only for solving the problem of Kashmir, if they did.

While giving a clarification to forge an alliance with the BJP, the PDP leaders including Mehbooba said it was a bulwark against the BJP’s plans. “My father (Mufti Sayeed) realized that the BJP was going to stay for a long time and there was a need to engage with them to secure our interests,” she said.

Responding to the ongoing controversy over the hoisting of the tricolor (Har Ghar Tiranga campaign) on India’s independence day on August 15, Mehbooba said the government should instead hoist the flags in the occupied territories of Ladakh.

In their speeches, PDP leaders, including former minister Naeem Akhtar and general secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura and Bashir Ahmad Mir, lambasted former party leaders who defected after claiming that Articles 370 and 35 A were gone forever.

“To everyone who opts for the BJP washing machine to wash away baggage from their past, the BJP will not take care of you even if you change your religion,” Akhtar said.

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