‘Late Mufti made Democracy Competitive in Kashmir,’ says Akhtar



Naeem Akhtar speaking during obituary reference in Legislative Council on May 26, 2016.
Naeem Akhtar speaking during obituary reference in Legislative Council on May 26, 2016.

Minister for Education, Naeem Akhtar Thursday termed the former Chief Minister, Late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed as a “great visionary who worked on a single mandate to connect hearts, regions and people”.

Speaking on the obituary reference in the Legislative Assembly this morning, Akhtar recalled his long association with Sayeed that started in 1986.

“He was an entire school of politics in itself and anybody who entered the school left as a knowledgeable person,” said Akhtar. “I was particularly inspired from his personal integrity. He never compromised on his principles. He always told me that if I don’t have personal conviction then it is better I left him alone.”

The Minister called Mufti Sayeed a “saint” of politics as he was a “unique” leader who was not after acquiring properties or building assets.

“He never talked ill of others and even in their absence he would highlight the best qualities of his political opponents,” said Akhtar. “Since he (Mufti Sayeed) started his political journey he went through various ups and downs and took number of decisions that looked wrong but ultimately they passed the test of time.”

Akhtar recalled the historic steps taken by Sayeed at the time of adversities. He said that it was due to such steps that the state of Jammu and Kashmir witnessed “revolutionary” changes.

“His main focus was on enhancing connectivity. Be it Srinagar-Muzaffarbad road, Chakan-Da-Bagh or Mughal Road or Sinthan road, he wanted to open up Kashmir to entire world and also connect other parts of state and world to Kashmir from new roads,” Akhtar said. “Similarly he wanted to connect hearts and it was with the help of his initiatives that he succeeded.”

The Minister said, “it was during the time of late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed that connectivity became a discourse in the State for the first time. Even during the last phase of his life Mufti Sahab took historic steps as he wanted to respect and represent the aspirations of all the regions of the state.”

“At a time when majority of people in Kashmir and Jammu voted for different parties, Mufti Saheb ensured that the aspirations of people from both regions are respected,” he added.

Akhtar said that Sayeed made democracy “competitive” in the state. “Earlier we had no options but after Mufti Sayeed came to the scene, he presented before the people another option to express their faith with,” said Akhtar.

“Now parties and individual MLAs feel a lot more accountable. They are concerned that if they don’t work for people then how can they ask for votes from them. Earlier there was no such concern.”

Describing Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as a great connector of ideologies, Minister of Education Naeem Akhtar said the late Chief Minister believed in participatory democracy.

He said the late leader strived to bridge the gap between different regions of the state all along his life.

“Mufti sahib experimented in a new version of participatory democracy after 2014 Assembly Elections. He used to say that the triangle between Jammu, Srinagar and New Delhi must be linked. The enterprise of hope left behind by Mufti sahib will be his lasting contribution for the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” the Education Minister said.

He said Sayeed worked “tirelessly for restoration of peace and socio-economic development” of Jammu and Kashmir.

Akhtar said, “the contribution of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed towards the social and political development of J&K is a hallmark of his personal integrity which he never compromised for any personal gains.”

The Education Minister revealed that the Late Chief Minister wanted to pen down his autobiography, “Despite offering myself for the job, the busy schedule of Mufti sahib didn’t allow him to fulfil it. I am deeply saddened that one of Kashmir’s sterling and exciting stories has remained untold,” he said.

Akhtar said the late Chief Minister was a “brave” man who dared odds for the cause of serving people.


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