Founding members stay away from PDP’s foundation day celebrations

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Srinagar, July 28: On the 17th foundation day celebrations of the Peoples Democratic Party on Thursday, some of the main founding members of PDP including Member Parliament, Muzaffar Hussain Beg and Tariq Hameed Karra stayed away from the event held here this noon.

Party sources said despite having been sent a formal invite to attend the “event of significant importance”, the veteran duo stayed away from the celebrations held behind closed-doors at the PDP head office near the City center.

Sources said though the celebrations were initially scheduled to be held at the adjacent Sher-e-Kashmir Municipal Park, apprehending trouble the venue was changed to the PDP office lawns at the eleventh hour.

While media was outright kept away from the celebrations, insiders said only the PDP members with valid I-cards issued by the party were allowed inside by police amid tight security.

Insiders said Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is also the PDP President in her address to the gathering of around 300 invitees said PDP was committed to the cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Paying glowing tributes to PDP founder and former Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, Mehbooba said he breathed his last looking after the interests of the people of the state.

Mehbooba, as per insiders said, unlike other parties PDP never changed its stand on Kashmir vis-à-vis relationship with neighboring Pakistan.

Apart from Mehbooba Mufti, senior PDP leaders who addressed the gathering include ministers: Syed Basharat Bukhari, AR Veeri and Imran Raza Ansari, all of whom were sitting on the dais. The speakers, as per the invitees, appreciated the “healing touch policy” as applied by the party during its rules from time to time.”

However their cabinet colleague and government spokesman Naeem  Akhter, who was sitting next to them remained silent during the event. Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu also didn’t speak on the occasion.

Insiders said Karra, who has been criticizing PDP’s alliance with the rightwing BJP was against the foundation day celebrations when Kashmir has been witnessing bloodbath, which claimed over 50 lives and left over 3000 wounded in the street protests.

It is believed that the PDP was divided over holding of the annual day celebrations during the unrest but that some of the senior members, mostly ministers in the ruling coalition, had stressed for celebrations, which ended up being low-key.

“No traditional Kehwa or Wazwan was offered this time. All we the invitees were offered at the celebrations was shade of a small Shamyana erected for the gathering,” said a PDP leader asking not to be identified.

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