Democracy is gaining roots in Pakistan and political stability in the neighbourhood “is good for us”, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said here on Monday.

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said Pakistan should decide whether it wants a new government or to hold fresh elections so that democracy flourishes there.

“(Former Pakistan prime minister Zulfikar Ali). Bhutto used to say that India is alive because of the hustle-bustle of its democracy. Today, we are also seeing the hustle-bustle of democracy in Pakistan, and the democracy in that country is gaining roots,” she told reporters outside her party office here.

“It is our neighbour, and we want it to be a stable country. So they should decide soon whether to have a new government or fresh elections, whatever they want — so that the democracy flourishes there in the same way it is in our country. Stability in our neighbourhood is good for us,” she said.

Asked about the seizing of those charged with harbouring militants’ properties, Mehbooba Mufti said it was “wrong”.

She also called for dialogue and reconciliation with the people of Kashmir.
“They (police) are punishing the whole population. If your fight is against a militant, you arrest him, fight him, but what has common people do? For example, a Kashmiri Pandit brother was attacked (in Shopian), and they arrested 100-150 youths. They also arrested several for the Jamia Masjid (sloganeering) incident,” she said.

“Democracy is a battle of ideas. You can jail a person, but not his thoughts. So till there is no reconciliation and dialogue with the people and the youths here, nothing will be achieved by this policy of arresting people. Rather, the people of J-K will be further alienated,’ the PDP chief said.