Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has stated that there is a need for evolving a general consensus among various political parties at the national level to resolve the Kashmir issue.
Addressing a public meeting in Jammu on Sunday, Mufti said, "Strengthening of democratic institutions and emergence of a strong civil society is a good sign and the country has to respond to the prevailing positive atmosphere in the region'.
He observed, "There is no substitute to resolving the Kashmir issue that has dampened the immense economic potential of the South Asian region for decades. The people of Jammu and Kashmir have been the worst victims of this problem".
"All sections of political opinion have to lend a helping hand in the process of solving the Kashmir issue," he said.
Mufti also appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Bharatiya Janata paty to respond positively to the prevailing situation.
Mufti especially mentioned the historic announcement made by the then prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee during his Kashmir visit in 2003.
He said that Vajpayee's announcement about extending the hand of friendship towards Pakistan had boosted the peace process.
The former chief minister stated, "The peace process with Pakistan has to be above party politics and it has to be driven by long term goals of conflict resolution and cooperation'.
"The biggest ever Confidence Building Measure which had a positive effect on improving relations between the two countries was the opening of crossing points on the Line of Control," he observed.
Mufti also expressed his gratitude towards Dr Singh and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi for taking a personal interest in the opening of the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar and Rawalakote-Poonch roads.
Reaffirming the commitment of his party to aggressively pursue the agenda of reconciliation and development in the state, Mufti asserted that the People's Democratic Party, with the support of the masses, wouldn't allow the peace process to be derailed.
"As the peace process was pioneered by the PDP, the party would take this process to its logical conclusion by establishing lasting peace in this region," he added.