Address internal, external dimensions of Kashmir: Mufti

Avtar Bhat

JAMMU, June 10: Former Chief Minister and patron People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Mufti Mohammed Sayeed today said that for restoration of everlasting peace in J&K the internal and external dimensions of the Kashmir issue have to be addressed.
Addressing a function here in connection with joining of former JJSF chairman Kuldeep Singh Jamwal in the Party, Mufti Sayeed said Pakistan can’t foment trouble in the State once internal dimensions of Kashmir issue were addressed. The PDP’s document of self rule is a vision paper in this regard as it reflects how internal as well as external dimensions of the issue can be addressed, he added.
Mufti said the document, which advocated for regional federalism also suggests ways and means for addressing external dimensions by adopting fundamentals of economic free zone on the pattern of European Union and principles of common market.
He said that in Pakistan now the army has also realized that they can’t be harsh towards India but have to live like friends with the neighbouring country. Though some extremist elements are still present in Pakistan, the atmosphere of total reconciliation is taking place there also, he added.
While referring to misrule and corruption in J&K the former Chief Minister said that he wanted to create a system in which every one get justice. “I gave people rid of NC’s monopoly and tried to become a bridge in the trust deficit between people and Government by taking the people of all three regions Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh along with’’ he added.
Lambasting the Government, the PDP leader said that its failure to empower Panchayats has led to harassment to Panches and Sarpanches in Kashmir Valley who were receiving threats day in and out. Though over one and half years ago the Panchayat elections were held but till date they have not been empowered. This has led to their alienation, he added.
Strongly advocating for implementation of 73rd and 74th amendment of Indian Constitution, Mufti said empowerment of basic institutes of democracy is must but the Government lacks will to do the same. He also expressed his dismay over the failure of Government for not conducting the over due local body elections in the State.
Terming the year 2002 a turning point in the history of trouble- torn State, the former Chief Minister said that it was for the first time that free and fair elections were held in J&K under the NDA rule at Centre. Though people had many apprehensions that the Governments’ were installed by Centre on their own will and elections have no role to play in this regard, he said when “I conveyed the same feeling of the masses to then Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee who announced from the ramparts of Red Fort during the Independence day function that free and fair elections would be held in J&K and this paved a way for formation of PDP led Government in the State.”
Mufti said that many people friendly decisions were taken during his Government and the Jawahar tunnel, which was closed at 6pm by then was thrown open for 24 hours and security forces were given orders to search only that house where they have reports of militants presence instead of cordoning entire village.
The PDP led Government also adopted the healing touch formula to provide succor to the people of the State. The then coalition Government worked a lot to make the system vibrant and responsive in the state and changed the course of history. “It was only after our hard efforts that the talks were held in Islamabad between India and Pakistan”, he added.
Terming himself a great Indian who worked in Congress for decades together since 1959, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed said that canards were spread against him that he is a pro militant after he assumed the office of Chief Minister in 2002.
The PDP leader said that he was ashamed of the Nadimarg incident, which took place during his tenure as CM, in which militants eliminated entire minority community residing in the village and this was followed by attack on historic Raghunath temple at Jammu, but added that still the Government pursued the peace policy to win the hearts of the common masses.
“My main objective was to restore peaceful atmosphere in the State and I want to bring stability and prosperity’’ he said, adding “when in Congress NC gave call of social boycott against me and his Partymen in Kashmir, still I remained a loyal nationalist and challenged the misrule of the then Government’’.
He said that appointments were made in a transparent manner during his tenure as CM while at present the recruitments in police are made at selective places.