Kamal, Sagar's blistering attack on Govt
10 January 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Senior National Conference leader Mustafa Kamal, delivering his maiden speech in budget session of the Assembly after he unseated a political heavyweight, Moulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari in Pattan by- election last year and his party colleague Ali Mohd Sagar today made a blistering attack on the coalition Government saying they were trying to take credit for the works started decades back and slogans of an anti-corruption drive have proved hollow. On the other, CPM leader Mohd Yusuf Tarigami and PDP MLA Abdul Rehman Veeri demanded that Disturbed Areas Act and Armed Forces J&K Special Powers Act, applicable to Jammu and Kashmir, shall be repealed immediately to give a message to the people that the Government means business. Making his first important speech in the Assembly after his election to the Assembly last year, Mustafa Kamal, former Minister and only member of Abdullah family in the House, launched a frontal attack on the coalition Government observing that two recent statements of Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad were aimed at increasing corruption and not curbing it. He quoted the CM as saying that in old times, there used to be honesty and dedication in the politics while present time it was dominated by corruption. Few days back the CM had said the corrupt officers work and honest don’t. 'Whether this will end corruption or increase it'? he asked and recalled that former Finance Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig had promised a white paper on finance but there was no mention of it in Governor’s Address, which he described as lackluster. 'There is no follow up to a Committee set up to go into backdoor appointments made since 1996', he said. Mustafa Kamal pooh-poohed the coalition Government’s bid to take credit for construction of Mughal road, Kishtwar-Sinthan Top road and opening of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road. 'While work on Mughal road was started by Sher-i-Kashmir and a part of the road from Shopian to Mughal Sarai was constructed in 1988, I had myself inaugurated Kishtwar-Sinthan Top road in 1980 as Works Minister. Upto 1987, a bus also used to ply on this road', he said, adding work on Mughal road would have been completed way back had the Centre not created hurdles. As far as Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road was concerned, it was opened by two countries under international pressure as well as to improve relations between them. The coalition can’t claim credit for it, he said. Referring to hype created by the PDP that former Chief Minister Mufti Mohd Sayeed will rake up the issue of self rule in United Nations, Kamal pointed out that he didn’t utter a single word on Kashmir and self rule in UN. 'The PDP leaders themselves didn’t know what the self rule is. They are cheating people on the name of self rule', he remarked. On Government’s claim of 1000 micro hydel projects constructed by Army, he wanted to know the cost of projects and how much money was spent on them. He added that ‘Sadhbhavna Operation' of Army will be meaningful only when they stopped nakas and hurdles in traffic by removing their ‘Soti and Seeti’. Another NC leader and former Minister Ali Mohd Sagar, displaying a copy of the Excelsior, quoted its report on the Chief Minister’s statement made recently in Vigilance Organisation’s conference painting grim picture on unemployment and economic fronts. 'Mr Azad has himself stated that 95 per cent salary of the State employees is coming from the Centre. Also, four lakh unemployed youths had applied for 3000 Class-IV vacancies. This indicates the state of affairs', he remarked. Taking a dig at much-publicised anti-corruption drive of the Government, Sagar asked 'tell me a single case where action has been taken against HoDs, Principal or Commissioner Secretaries and other senior officers? Only Patwaris, Sub Inspectors or constables have been caught, he asserted. On Government’s claim of drive against mafia, he said several officers have encroached huge chunk of land at Wazir Bagh and Jawahar Nagar in Srinagar and no action has been taken against them. He wanted to know what happened to the Government slogan of providing a job in every house, winding up the Task Force and supplying power for 24 hours. Human rights violations were also unabated, Sagar said and asked what action has been taken against the persons who tried to desecrate a Mosque at Shangus. The other day, one Kashmiri youth was beaten-up in a train while two Kashmiri youths were killed in a 'fake encounter' at Ansal Plaza. A mentally deranged man was killed in Pattan, he alleged. Sagar said the NC has always played the role of a healthy and constructive Opposition and even extended blind support to Mufti Government for first six months. 'If the NC had desired to form a Government it would have done so in 2002', he said recalling that a coalition leader had approached NC with eight MLAs saying their group will form Government with Chief Minister while veteran NC leader (now dead) Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Shah will be Deputy Chief Minister. 'Our party leader had outrightly turned down the proposal saying the NC was mandated to sit in the Opposition', he said, alleging later an attempt was also made by the coalition to woo MLAs with Rs 1 crore each. CPM leader and an ally of the coalition, Mohd Yusuf Tarigami said time has now come to repeal Disturbed Areas Act and Armed Forces Special Powers Act. 'Human rights violations will not end till these laws, which give immense powers to security forces and give a feeling that they (the forces) are above law, are withdrawn. This will also give a message to the people that we mean business', he added. Asserting that year 2007 could well turn out to be 'turning point' in solving Kashmir problem and restoration of peace in J&K, Mr Tarigami maintained that everyone wants a solution to the problem and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has not only welcomed Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf’s suggestions but hinted at holding breakfast in Amritsar and lunch in Lahore. He cautioned that the forces opposing peace moves in the State will have to face consequences. Referring to Government’s claim made in Governor’s Address that 51 detainees were released in one year, he said the figure was not sufficient and wanted to know how many people were arrested. He indicated that election bells could ring in 2007 if everything goes well. Another coalition leader and PDP MLA, Abdul Rehman Veeri endorsed Mr Tarigami’s demand for repealing Disturbed Areas and Armed Forces Special Powers Acts. Saying that peace moves between J&K and Delhi and India and Pakistan gained momentum in 2002, he said voice of talks are being heard from all places and a solution to the problems could emerge. 'A good future awaits the people of Jammu and Kashmir', Mr Veeri, a former Minister, remarked. He said the coalition Government dismissed and suspended many police officers while action was also taken against the security personnel whenever human rights violations were reported during last four years. Listing achievements of the coalition Government, he said 3 new Universities, campus at district headquarters, 22 degree colleges and 8 new districts were created while 70,000 youths were provided employment during last four years. For the first time, the Centre has handed over 1000 mw Dul Hasti project to the State. Dubbing coalition as ‘collusion’ regime, Mr Sagar expressed surprise that the Finance Minister of the State has labeled serious allegations on the Chief Minister but ruling parties were claiming that they are working unitedly. 'Surprisingly, the Finance Minister is openly stating that his Chief Minister is being mislead by the bureaucrats and party colleagues but still both the parties running the Government', he said, adding, 'I failed to understand how this dispensation is going with such a serious differences'. 'I pray the Almighty to get the people rid of this Government as partners of this coalition regime have been involved in leg pulling of each other rather than working for the betterment of the masses', he observed. Taking a dig at coalition regime for showing doors to those poor employees who were appointed on contractual basis during previous regime of NC, Mr Sagar said that as many as 3500 backdoor appointments have been made in Irrigation, PHE and Flood Control Department during the last four years. Further, kith and kin of Ministers have been rehabilitated in Aquaf with whopping salaries and perks. The NC members pointed out custodial killings have been going unabated notwithstanding claims of the State Government. Contesting Government’s claim that violence has come down during the last one year, Mr Sagar said that 1889 persons were killed in 2006 among them 900 were civilians. Ghulam Mohd Saroori (Congress) also listed achievements of the coalition Government including creation of 8 districts, 13 tehsils and introduction of Roshni scheme. He said peace process started by the coalition Government has started yielding positive results. He declared that the coalition will last full term.