SRINAGAR – People’s Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has said his party has emerged not just as a credible governance alternative but has been able to change substantially the resolution narrative on Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing a public meeting in Argicheck Qasbayaar Rajpora constituency of Pulwama district today, he said the PDP represented a new thought process on resolution of the Kashmir problem- away from hard line rhetoric and emotional approach.
Mufti said the arrival of PDP on the political scene had spurred an unprecedented activity marked by pragmatism towards resolution of a problem that had defied a solution for six decades and cost many generations their peace, life and economy. The party instead of following the hawks on either side had developed a new middle of the road theme and roadmap that was anchored in the friendship between India and Pakistan which should provide its own legitimate space to J&K for growth, economic emancipation and unrestricted political rights, he said. Mufti recalled that this approach had produced extremely positive results between 2003 and 2005 and set off a process of peace that could by now have matured into resolution if it had been pursued with same vigour and sincerity of purpose.
Mufti said the resolution has to be related to realities of our times and the lives and interests of the people of state. This had been done with impressive results as the divided state was heading for a virtual unification with the conceding of important fundamental principles on trade and travel between the two parts of erstwhile state. He said these principles of exemption from passport and visa regime for travel and custom duty on LOC trade had in fact laid the foundation for a Free Economic Zone which had immense potential for growth for the whole region. He said it was a positive development that the parties which had been talking of bombing Pakistan or launching war with that country to prove their own loyalty too had now come round to the PDP vision of opening up of the state through peaceful and civilised methods and lifting the post partition siege around it. He said more and more voices should emerge from the state for revival of traditional routes to press the two countries for urgent follow up on 2005 initiative of introducing a bus service between two sides and subsequent decision to allow cross LOC trade which had not been able to make the desired progress in absence of proper follow up.
Referring to other aspects of the PDP vision of self rule Mufti said much of the economic depression in the state was a result of the sell out of our water resources by successive NC governments. He said water and power are the two most crucial inputs for progress and nature had been extremely generous with J&K but for the selfish conduct of our oldest party that had bartered them away for petty interests. “Renegotiation of terms of engagement with NHPC will be the main thrust area of PDP and with the support of people it should not be difficult to secure a fair deal for the state which is reeling under darkness in extremely harsh climatic conditions” he said.
Mufti said the current gas crisis had once again exposed the present government. He said it was painful for him to see the people standing in long queues in freezing temperatures in pursuit of a gas cylinder. “This is not just a matter of discomfort but source of disrespect and indignity for our people. Such a situation would not be existing even in war ravaged Somalia or Afghanistan” he added. Mufti regretted that a gentleman had lost his life in pursuit of a gas cylinder and that should represent the lasting shame of the present coalition.
Criticising the government for introducing an element of discrimination in development Mufti said the previous coalition had extended the development process evenly across regions and sub regions to all areas irrespective of political affiliations. He said though the entire state was facing acute problems on account of rampant corruption, misgovernance and political bankruptcy of rulers the government had singled out areas represented by opposition for maltreatment. He said the planning process had been subverted and the chief minister was utilising plan funds as if it was his discretionary grant. This situation will change if people of all areas use their vote like the residents of Pulwama – Shopian districts which had returned all the PDP candidates in last elections” Mufti said adding that would be a turning point in state’s history.
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