Strengthening PDP, not becoming CM my priority: Mehbooba

Jammu, March 4 (IANS): PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said on Friday that becoming the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir was not her priority as she wanted to strengthen the party.

The Peoples Democratic Party leader also said that her mission was to carry forward her late father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's dream of bringing peace and development to Jammu and Kashmir.

Mehbooba Mufti was addressing party workers here.

Referring to the possibility of heading an alliance government with the BJP in the state, she said: "I do not know what will happen tomorrow. One thing I know for sure. If I and my party continue to relentlessly pursue the dream of Mufti Sahib, the people of the state will benefit.

"Whether I become the chief minister or not, the party has to be kept alive. That is the biggest tribute we can give to Mufti Sahib who founded the party for the people and not for any personal benefit."

Mufti said her father's last words during his illness to her were not about the properties he would be leaving behind, but about strengthening the party.

"He told me it was not important whether I became the chief minister or not. What was important was that the party (PDP) should be strengthened so that the people of the state benefit."

Jammu and Kashmir has been without an elected government ever since Mufti Sayeed died on January 7. Governor's Rule was imposed in the state after Mehbooba Mufti did not form a government.

On India-Pakistan relations, she said friendship and not confrontation was the way forward for the two countries and this was the only way to usher in permanent peace in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mehbooba Mufti said when her father was a Class 8 student, he desired to build a bridge between two parts of his hometown Bijbehara, which is divided by the Jhelum river.

"Mufti Sahib always wanted to build bridges between people and nations. His dream of peace and prosperity actually anchored the Congress in Kashmir and that paved the way for National Conference founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah to return to mainstream politics."

She said it was Mufti Sayeed who dreamt of cross-border trade, people-to-people contact and easing of tensions between India and Pakistan.

"America tried fighting and winning a war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Did such a big power win that war? Ours is a much bigger country and we stand to lose more by fighting with Pakistan.

"It is in the best interest of both countries to be friends. That is the only way forward for peace to return to our state."

She said Pakistan had taken action against those involved in the terror attack on the IAF base in Pathankot. She quoted Pakistan as saying that these attacks were carried out by non-state actors.

"It is possible what Pakistan says is right. (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji's decision to stop over in Pakistan is a great gesture.

"Manmohan Singh also wanted to go to Pakistan but he did not have a strong enough mandate to do so. Modiji has a strong mandate which can be used for bringing peace between the two countries. War and war mongering are no solution to any problem."


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