Pak should stop backing militancy and enable restoration of peace: Mehbooba

Anantnag (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], April. 4 (ANI): Ahead of the Jammu and Kashmir elections, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday asked Pakistan to stop backing militancy in the state and enable restoration of peace between the two countries.

"It is my appeal to those across (the border) that they should renew the policy of not supporting militancy or the gun that they had adopted during (Prime Minister A B) Vajpayee's time. Help us restore peace in Jammu and Kashmir and then talks will take place here and across (PoK) as well," Mehbooba said while addressing an election meeting in Anantnag constituency.

She further asserted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Pakistan in December 2015 had rekindled hopes of improving relations between New Delhi and Islamabad.

"Narendra Modi went on his own to Lahore to meet Nawaz Sharif. A new hope was attached to it but unfortunately Pathankot (terror attack) happened," she added.

Mehbooba later added that these (tense) times will not last forever.

"Vajpayeeji used to say that you can change friends but not the neighbours. We have to live with each other cordially," she added.

Earlier this week, ahead of the by-polls for Anantnag parliamentary seat, the Jammu and Kashmir Police arrested 18 persons on stone pelting charges.

The police have launched a massive crackdown against the youth in South Kashmir by arresting at least 135 youth in the past two weeks.

The arrested youth were wanted for disrupting law and order in the district by resorting to violence, the police officials said.

Though the situation has improved gradually after the five-month unrest in 2016, South Kashmir remains charged as there are gun battles between militants and security forces and stone-pelting protests near encounter sites have become a routine in the last few months.(ANI)