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People of state are principal stakeholders in resolution process: Mufti

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Calling people of Jammu and Kashmir as principal stakeholders in the resolution process, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday said the challenge before the leadership of the state and the country is to insulate the process from the setbacks that have derailed it in the past.

"The focus has to be on involving the principal stakeholders the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the resolution process to make it sustainable and productive," the Chief Minister said while addressing a public gathering after inaugurating the new building of the Government Degree College here.

The Chief Minister also stressed on the revival and continuation of the process of restoring peace and confidence building process with Pakistan which had helped transform the situation in the state and along the borders between 2002 and 2005.

"The government of India must, with fresh resolve, work towards taking reconciliatory political measures through public participation for the resolution of the issue," she said, adding, Jammu & Kashmir could become a bridge of peace between the two countries and a hub of economic activity in the region given its geostrategic location.

Mehbooba called for expanding the ambit and scope of the cross-LoC movement of people and goods and the full potential can be harnessed only by opening it up and allowing all the regions to benefit from the new market economy growing in the region.

"For a lasting solution of the state’s problems substantial political and economic measures have to be taken that meet the reasonable aspirations of the people in all the regions of the state," she said.

Mehbooba said even if Pakistan may be, due to own political reasons, is currently reluctant to reciprocate the peace overtures from New Delhi, whatever can be done to address the internal dimensions of the Kashmir issue must be done without delay. 

"Government of India shall have to take one or more steps than our neighbouring country (Pakistan) as Jammu and Kashmir is our state and we have to apply balm on the wounds of the people," she said.

Noting that her government is giving focused attention to education sector, the Chief Minister said general education needs to be supplemented with skills to increase employability of the youth.

Urging the youth in Kashmir to focus on studies, Mehbooba said,"The rightful place for our children is in the educational institutions like IITs, IIMs, engineering, medical, dental colleges and not the streets".

"The youth in Kashmir should return to the educational institutions and concentrate on their studies instead of being on the streets or sitting idle at their homes," she said.

"Our children look good with books in their hands in the classrooms studying to be doctors, engineers and architects of our future rather than being on the streets," she said.

She also expressed dismay over the delay in timely completion of the development projects and said unfortunately infrastructure development in the state has not proceeded at the required pace.