Article 370 is article of faith, won’t allow its erosion: Mufti

Patron PDP, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed addressing public meeting at Mendhar on Monday.

Excelsior Correspondent
MENDHAR (POONCH), June 24: Expressing determination to safeguard the special status of the State, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) today said its campaign for revival of peace process with Pakistan actually reflects the urges of a much larger peace in the two countries and not just the people of J&K.
Addressing a public meeting in this town situated near the Line of Control (LoC) party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said a fully empowered democratic system was an essential requirement for ensuring that the rights of people are no more trampled in the State.
Mufti said Article 370 is an article of faith between J&K and rest of the country and even in its eroded form it grants the state substantial powers that can address the issues peculiar to it. He said the element of accountability introduced in State political system after the emergence of PDP will ensure that no party colluded in further disempowerment of the State. “It was lack of political alternatives and a single party monopoly in the past that was responsible for weakening our special status granted by the constitution of the state. Such a possibility is substantially reduced because of awareness among people and the fact that any party that collaborates in such ventures will do so to its own peril”, he said.
Stressing the need for a positive response to the calls for peace from neighbouring Pakistan, Mufti said a bold initiative like the one taken by Vajpayee was expected of the Prime Minister on this crucial front. He said when we call for peace with Pakistan it does not reflect only the aspirations of our State but the large peace constituency in the two countries. In Pakistan there has been a progressive convergence of interest in peace and now even the Army in that country seems to have fallen in line, he said and urged the Prime Minister to take note of the democratic developments there and also the peace constituency he himself represents within the country.
Welcoming the visit of Prime Minister to the State Mufti regretted that such occasions ceased to generate a similar atmosphere as they did during the PDP led coalition. He said it was unfortunate that Kashmir observed hartals and Government responded with stiff restrictions on common people defeating the political purpose of such important visits. He said these visits were actually an index of the  reversal by present Government of the progress made by earlier coalition.
Coming down heavily on State Government for its failure to contain corruption, he regretted that anti-graft institution like State Accountability Commission (SAC) has been made defunct by the present regime through its misdeeds.
He regretted that State Government has subverted all moves for necessary reforms for making the governance humane, transparent, accountable, efficient and free from corruption.
“Since its formation the present regime has brazenly been indulged into subverting democratic institutions be it assembly, district development boards, urban local bodies or Panchayati Raj Institutions”, he said and mentioned that failure of the State Government to conduct urban local bodies elections reflect dictatorial mindset of ruling elites.
Sardar Rafiq Hussain Khan, MLA, Yashpal Sharma, MLC, Choudhary Zulfikar, MLA, Dr Sameer Koul, Zafar Manhas, M R Qureshi, ex-MLC, Hamid Manhas, Imtayaz Banday,  Shahzad Khan, and others also spoke on the occasion.


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