Restrictions on PM’s Visit Reflect Reversal of Reconciliation Process: Mufti

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SRINAGAR: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohamamd Sayeed Thursdaysaid that the coming elections offer people of J&K a defining moment in its history which could lead to rewriting the destiny of the state.
Addressing a public gathering at Deethu in Shangus Constituency, he said the reversal of reconciliation process started by the previous government reflected in the severe restrictions, imposed at the Prime Minister’s visit, which resulted in imprisoning of the entire Srinagar population.
Mufti said there were different road maps prescribed and pursued by various political parties and forces. While the separatists advocate independence or other options they should feel free to propagate their views as we live in democracy and believe that it was all about the battle of ideas.
He said, however, the PDP believes it could change the destiny of J&K through a genuine democratic process and we could benefit from our constitutional system in restoring our rights and scripting a new future. “While I value victory in the elections as public endorsement of our programme but it is the faith and confidence reposed by the people in our agenda that would actually empower us in tackling the challenges we face,” Mufti added.
The former chief minister said while resolution of J&K problem remains the centre piece of PDP’s political process though there was dire need for pursuing a vibrant economic agenda which should focus on challenges like unemployment, power crisis , unplanned and haphazard development and ecological degeneration.
He said PDP was fortunate to attract the right mix of intellectual resources to draft and implement a workable and effective economic agenda which could transform the state from a so called begging bowl into a modern state.
Mufti said during his brief rule, in alliance with congress, had set new standards of governance, development and political accommodation. “The doors of jails were opened to create an atmosphere of real freedom and every body was free to propagate views in a peaceful atmosphere and people especially the youth had smelt a positive change leading them away from gun and violance,” Mufti said.
But, it was very alarming that the same youth have now been pushed to wall through persecution and corruption in every government scheme especially in recruitment processes,” he said.
The PDP patron said the deterioration in the situation reflected in the just concluded prime ministerial visit. He said whether it was Atal Bihari Vajpaee or Dr Manmohan Singh all three prime ministerial visits between 2003 and 2005 turned out to be watershed moments for a variety of reasons.
He said Vajpayee took the momentous decision to initiate the peace process with Pakistan and offered a dialogue to the people of J&K, he also followed it up with an economic package for various sections including with those associated with the tourism which had taken a serious hit.
Similarly, Dr Singh announced a huge economic package of 24 thousand crores reconstruction package and followed it up with the reopening of Srinagar- Muzzafarabad and Poonch-Rawalakot roads for travel and trade.
The brief tenure infact witnessed a rear consensus between the NDA & UPA on Kashmir primarily because the epicenter of the peace process was J&K, as we had been able to channelize the urges of people here sincerely through democratic means. He said “We didn’t make any compromises on the interests of the state and infact for the first time after independence very significant concessions were made to J&K which have the potential of leading to long term benefits for the state.”
Paying compliments to the state administration, Mufti said it was through the available officers and officials that he could achieve any difference in the standards of governance and delivery. He said given a proper direction, leadership and working atmosphere, the state bureaucracy could turn out on top in the country.
The stock of local administration had sharply gone up and it was because of their confidence they had earned, the central government would go out of their way to respond to our proposals and projects, he said and added in many cases the union ministers would insist on increasing our allocation as they were convinced of our capacity to spend the money purposefully.
He said the confidence has once again unfortunately been shaken as a result of incompetent leadership resulting in almost a freeze in development process.

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