Credibility of JK Legislature Diminishing: Mufti

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JAMMU:  Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today expressed concern at the diminishing credibility of institutions like the legislature. He was addressing a party meeting in Jammu.

Speaking in detail about the efforts that had gone into revival of people’s faith in democratic process, Mufti said all parties including the congress and BJP under Atal Behari Vajpayee had contributed to it when he led the PDP congress coalition government. “But now it is different as the assembly which is the ultimate authority in a democratic set up is facing a crisis of credibility in view of the ruling coalition’s inability to tolerate dissent and debate”, he said. Where do we discuss issues of public importance he asked and said surely streets or use of force are no options but it seems this government is pushing people out of the institutional debate.

Referring to the stonewalling of efforts to discuss the aftermath of Afzal Guru’s secret hanging by the ruling combination, Mufti said this attitude would disillusion the people from the system once again after some semblance of faith in them had been restored. He said the government is repeating the same tactics that was adopted when a resolution was moved in the house seeking clemency for Guru two years back. “Running away from debate is no answer. Democracy is not just an exercise to cast vote every five or six years but is a constant process of scrutiny, discussion and engagement in forums like parliament and state legislatures. That alone is the answer even to those who do not have faith in our democratic system and institutions” he said. But during the last four years not a single serious debate on any important issue has been allowed by this government, he pointed out.

Strongly condemning the killing of two policemen in Handwara on Saturday Mufti said gun is no answer to our problems. We have witnessed too much of destruction and death and have to come out of that vicious cycle, he said. “But I want to make it clear that ideas can be met only with ideas and can neither be arrested nor killed by force. This is the message from the three years of PDP leadership in government when it became clear that the people of the state had reaffirmed their faith in vote and non violent methods to stress their rights” he said.

Mufti said though people of the state had by and large realized the importance of vote as the ultimate right to assert one’s preferences but it was regrettable that many were still unable to distinguish between the right and wrong. He said if the process of democratization and development started by his government had remained uninterrupted the state would by now have progressed beyond recognition, emphasising that Jammu and Kashmir has the potential to become the most developed state in the region. He said people have to make the right choice in electing their representatives to avoid repenting for the next six years as most of them have been doing ever since the present government took over.

Mufti said it is not just the legislature that has suffered erosion at the hands of present government but virtually every other institution has been rendered idle. Though the state was the first to establish an Accountability Commision on the pattern of the much talked about Lok Pal the government scuttled its functioning through every possible means. Similarly the PDP government also introduced the Right to Information Act RTI in 2004 much before the central government did it but the government has failed to create a culture of transparency. He said the system of recruitment that was streamlined has again been derailed and same old trademark NC system of selling jobs is back now.

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