Incumbent Langate lawmaker Er Rasheed on Monday said that elections are no substitute for the resolution of Kashmir dispute and reiterated that the resolution of the long-pending dispute lies in holding a free and fair plebiscite.
Addressing a presser in Srinagar, the firebrand lawmaker from the northern part of Kashmir’s Langate assembly constituency and chairperson of Awami Ittehad Party (AIP), said that the party believes in democratic processes and is of the opinion that the democracy is the only tool that can be used for the peaceful resolution of the dispute.
“I believe that be it assembly, parliament or any other democratic institution, world bodies acknowledge it only.”
He said that given the circumstances prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir, democracy as an institution is the only tool available to the people of Kashmir to fight for their cause.
He said that his party stands for the electoral process. “And no one becomes Indian or Pakistani or anti-Kashmir by taking part in the electoral processes. Our principled stand is that elections in no way do impact the Kashmir issue.”
However, Rasheed said that during the last months the situation in the valley has been turbulent and holding or participating in elections at this time is not in the interest of the people of Kashmir and it will mislead world bodies on the Kashmir dispute. “As such we will not take part in the elections.”
Rasheed said that though Party strongly believes in democratic process, but the main political parties including National Conference and PDP have not only disappointed Kashmiris but are also responsible in creating a situation where one feels ashamed to seek votes, as these parties have always tried to represent New Delhi in Kashmir rather representing Kashmir in New Delhi by acting like collaborators.
“The mainstream parties have played such a dirty role during the turbulent eight months that one feels ashamed to go to the people and ask for votes. The reputation of the word ‘mainstream’ has been degraded,” Rasheed said.
Rasheed said that since 2008 till date, time bears testimony to the fact that inside and outside the assembly we have consistently raised the demand of “Rai Shumari”. “I am safeguarding the sacrifices and people should never take election as substitute to sacrifices.”
“Unlike PDP and NC who represent New Delhi in Kashmir rather than vice versa, I represent the sacrifices of the people.”
He said that the elections are being conducted at a time when the situation is not ripe. “Pitching people against PDP, NC, AIP is not in the interest of the general public. Holding elections at this juncture will mislead the world bodies. We cannot deprive world bodies that despite mass killings people in Kashmir valley voted for the same people who killed, blinded and maimed them.”
“Hum Qurbaniyoon Key Waris Hain Aur Qurbaniyaan Dena Chahtey Hain” (We have laid down sacrifices and want to lay down even more sacrifices), Rasheed told the newsmen on Monday afternoon.