Strong govt with democratic legitimacy imperative for JK: Mufti

Baramulla: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Thursday said that Jammu and Kashmir can be governed effectively only by a party which has the legitimate mandate of the people and articulates their political, social and economic aspirations with conviction and consistency.

“I assure you that nobody can disregard the people’s mandate and the new government in Jammu and Kashmir would be chosen by the people and not picked out by cobbling-up timeserving alliances,” Mufti said while addressing a public rally here.

He said only a strong government with democratic legitimacy can ensure peace and stability in the state and in a democratic setup people’s mandate is supreme and it has to be respected by one and all. “The fact that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are the biggest custodians of the state’s interests has to be recognized and their legitimate aspirations voiced through democratic means have to be respected to address the issues of trust-deficit and alienation,” he said and added that this is of fundamental importance to allow the democratic institutions in the State to grow and flourish without having the feeling of being in the protective custody.

Mufti said, since its formation, PDP has been on the forefront of seeking amicable settlement of the Kashmir issue and respond to all the aspirations of the people and channelize them through democratic means. “The driving force for the PDP’s pro-people agenda is the public support, without which the party could have not achieved much, both in the government and in opposition,” he said and added that the party’s Self-Rule framework offers comprehensive solution to both the internal and external dimensions of the Kashmir issue.

Mufti claimed in its brief tenure in the government between 2002 and 2005, PDP had successfully taken the state on the path of peace, tranquility and development. "We had set a goal of healing physical, psychological and emotional wounds inflicted by violence, strive towards giving good governance, ensuring political stability and fulfilling expectations of the people. We made efforts and succeeded in numerous ways," he said and sought people’s support to accomplish PDP’s unfinished agenda of ending political and economic uncertainties plaguing Jammu and Kashmir for decades.

Mufti said PDP-led coalition government had, alongside political measures to address the Kashmir issue, planned and put in place a mechanism for trade integration between two parts of Kashmir and the rest of the world. “PDP’s vision is to have a sub-regional trade arrangement around Jammu and Kashmir that provides free and easy access to the goods and commodities produced within the State,” he said and added that tariff-free movement of goods across J&K would give a huge boost to the traditional economic activities like handicrafts, horticulture, agriculture and forest produce by allowing them better access to the markets in South and Central Asia.

Mufti said these economic tools would, in the long term, help the policy makers on the two sides of the divide to facilitate the political changes that people in the region so badly need. “The opening of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawlakote roads were the first significant steps towards integrating the State with the new market economy developing in the region,” he said and expressed dismay that all these remarkable measures were unfortunately put on the backburner by the successive regimes.

Reiterating his resolve to work towards consolidation and expansion of cross-LoC cooperation, Mufti said amidst the prevailing winds of globalization and regional economic integration, Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi, has the opportunity of conceiving a different grand strategy for India in Jammu and Kashmir. “It would be a giant step towards making India more at peace not only with its neighbors, but also with itself,” he said.

Addressing the rally senior PDP leader and Member Parliament, Muzaffar Husain Beigh said PDP, in its brief tenure in the government, had sparked political, economic and social activity on a phenomenal scale in J&K facilitating complete transformation of the ground situation.

He said it is because of the agenda set by PDP that the State is today emitting the messages of political stability, democratic grandeur and economic renaissance. “The emerging refreshing scenario has started bringing into focus convergence of our interests rather than hackneyed divergence,” he said and added that the larger world of opportunities at the people’s level has slowly but surely started coming alive across the State.

PDP, Baig said, visualizes and is striving for a space of dignity and opportunity for the people of Jammu & Kashmir in a larger paradigm of friendship between India and Pakistan. He said PDP strongly believes that nothing is valid and should be happening for Jammu & Kashmir except with the active involvement of its people. “However, the people from all shades of political opinion shall have to evolve a consensus on a pragmatic and workable solution of the issue in the interest of peace and stability,” he said and added that the time has come to strike a new benchmark in light of the global and regional realities for the resolution of the State’s problems.

Baig said the massive infrastructural creation and upgradation program launched by the PDP-Congress coalition government in 2002 in critical sectors would get further momentum in the coming days and months providing not only relief and succor to the people but better facilities as well.

He said the major area of focus for the new government to be headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed would be tourism, power sector, horticulture and unemployment as these are posing a great challenge to the State.

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