Basharat Bukhari

National Conference leader Basharat Bukhari, who was Revenue Minister in PDP-BJP collation government, put PDP in the dock by revealing the details of how former Chief Minster Mehbooba Mufti delayed cabinet-nod for action against the fake Permanent Resident Certificates (PRC) holders and the officers who issued the vital documents. In his first interaction with media as NC’s leader, Bukhari said the issues related to Article 370, Article 35(A) and the state subjects are closely linked.

As Revenue Minister, Bukhari, who recently quit PDP to join NC, said after he received the recommendations from the Commission he initiated a non-agenda item for the cabinet to consider. “As I explained the issue, there was a lot of noise from the BJP but the majority of the cabinet directed that the recommendations be adopted and sent to the appropriate authority,” Bukhari told reporters. “After the cabinet meeting was over, I put up a note and sent it to the Chief Minister. I have no information about the follow-up. I just wanted to get my name out of the issue and that is why I am talking to you.”

In order to ‘clear his name’ from the sensitive and controversial PRC issue, Bukhari distributed copies of note he had written as Revenue Minister to Cabinet Committee for approval of the action.

Bukhari told reporters that if he remembers correctly, the number of fake PRCs that the Commission had sent to the Revenue Ministry were 136. There are 90 more certificates that the Commission has located and were being investigated.

Interestingly, both PDP and NC were at the forefront to safeguard Kashmir’s exclusivity by protecting Article 35 A and Article 370. Bukhari’s revelations about lack of action by then CM Mehbooba Mufti have raised lots of eyebrows about PDP’s role as BJP’s collation partner.

Bukhari, a former broadcaster, joined PDP and fought 2014 state assembly elections successfully from Sangrama constituency. He has served in Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP-BJP coalition cabinet as Minister of Horticulture, Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs and Minister of Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation.

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