Srinagar- Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, said there was no substitute to the Vajpayee doctrine and that Modi’s government will have to revert to the policy of Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Pakistan and Kashmir,

“Whatever the reasons for hardening of stances by the Union government and government of Pakistan are, there is no substitute to the policy adopted by Vajpayee who had famously remarked that ‘while friends can be changed but neighbors can’t be’,” Mufti said while addressing party convention in Pulwama district of south Kashmir.

He said Vajpayee acquired the mantle of statesmanship of pursuing peace even in the face of provocations and staying on his course in spite of difficult impediments.

“The present government will have to revert to Vajpayee’s policy and engage both Pakistan and the separatist leadership to find a lasting solution to the problems of Jammu and Kashmir,” the PDP patron asserted.

Mufti said while internally the democratic institutions need to be strengthened, on the external front he cannot visualize any alternative to reconciliation and dialogue between “our country and Pakistan.”

“The hostility between the two countries has hit the people of J&K the hardest and the incidents on the border and LoC should keep reminding the two countries the inevitability of sitting across the table to find a just and pragmatic solution,” he added.

Stressing that the J&K Assembly was an empowered institution, Mufti said it is only through an emphatic exercise of vote that the state can safeguard its identity and political and economic interests within the union.

“The democratic deficit in a major way contributed to political instability but the elections during the past decade and especially the recent Lok Sabha polls have invested the electoral process with a much needed credibility,” he said. No government can disregard people’s aspirations and still hope to be in political field, he added.