Follow Vajpayee Initiative On Kashmir: Mufti To Advani

Follow Vajpayee Initiative On Kashmir: Mufti To Advani

11 July 2012
Greater Kashmir


Srinagar: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed has cautioned the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against undoing the process of reconciliation, resolution and Indo-Pak amity initiated by its own NDA government under Atal Behari Vajpayee. Addressing a public meeting at Pulwama today, he said in its bid to score political points the party seems to have forgotten its own role in trying to find an amicable solution to Kashmir problem. “If anything the party must launch a campaign for speeding up the process initiated by Atal Behari Vajpayee rather than agitating against Article 370 of the Constitution,” he said. Mufti said the threat of an agitation by the BJP veteran L K Advani against Article 370 amounted to a reversal of the gains made on Kashmir issue and Indo-Pak relationship since the former Prime Minister Vajpayee announced a ceasefire from Srinagar and extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan. “When I invited Vajpayee to Srinagar in 2003, the armies of the two countries were in a combat position in the wake of Parliament attack and Kargil conflict but the statesman in the then Prime Minister saw a window of opportunity and grabbed it to dismantle the walls of hatred in South Asia. Advani’s stance is an antithesis of Vajpayee’s call for ‘insaniyat ke dayire mein’ and even his own initiative to hold direct talks with separatists which was the first contact of its kind at that level,” he said. Mufti recalled how the NDA government had announced the first ceasefire with militants even as the state government of its ally, National Conference, had openly defied it. The PDP patron said though the UPA government during its first tenure followed the initiative and took things to the next level the process seems to be getting trapped in partisan politics again. The UPA 1 responded positively to our vision of a simultaneous economic development and resolution effort as a result of which significant milestones were achieved. He said reopening of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawlakot roads was the most significant development in breaking decades old mindset that would perceive a gunman behind every bush in Kashmir and denied the people of the state the right to travel across the LOC. “If Advani must agitate it should be for carrying forward that process with speed and substance, rather than following the same zero sum game that has led us nowhere,” he said. Mufti said resolution of Kashmir with its internal and external dimensions in mind is inescapable. “It is a matter of life and death for us but for rest of the country also it is a matter of restoring prestige. It is no source of pride for the country that Jammu and Kashmir which strengthened its secular credentials and multicultural ethos should be writhing in pain,” Mufti said while calling for a national consensus for a just and lasting solution. He said the orphans, widows and destitute caused by the conflict in Jammu and Kashmir are a moral challenge to entire country as much as those who are disenchanted with its system as a result of wrong policies and excesses of the state. “This situation has to be addressed with understanding and democratic remedies,” he added. Referring to the problems faced by people on account of maladministration, inefficiency and corruption, Mufti said this situation would not last long if all sections of society showed same political maturity as the people of Pulwama district who had steadfastly refused to accept the monopoly of a single party. “It is time now that you apply strict standards of accountability to political parties on the basis of their agenda and performance if you want this place to grow as a welfare state. Otherwise we would remain trapped in issues of survival rather than grow as self respecting people with a bright and secure future for our coming generations,” he told his audience. He said PDP wanted to usher in a change in which any party that came to power felt accountable to people and institutions of the state. Taking dig at the present dispensation, senior party leader and former finance minister Tariq Hameed Karra on this occasion said that backdoor entries in government jobs and extension to retired civil servants have become a norm again as a trademark of NC government. Youth are harassed by the state within and outside J&K. Around 1 lakh jobs are awaiting recruitment but the government is not moving to fill them up. The reason could be to fill them up against money and political considerations as government jobs have become a commodity that is sold and purchased like money from the treasuries. Referring to Panchayats, Karra said that these have been reduced to a propaganda handle, without their full and meaningful empowerment these institutions have started becoming a source of alienation rather than empowerment. Senior party leaders Syed Bashir Ahmed MLA, Muhammad Khalil Bandh MLA, Zahoor Ahmed Mir MLA, Mushtaq Ahmed Shah MLA, Abdur Razaq Zawoora MLA, Muhammad Shaban Bhat, Wali Muhammad Bhat, Youth General Secretary Showkat Gayoor, Mukhtar Ahmed Bandh and others were also present on this occasion.