Reiterating resolve of his party to work as a bridge between India and Pakistan to restore lasting peace in the entire South Asian region, patron of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Monday emphasized on the need of evolving consensus across political spectrum of the country to initiate meaningful dialogue with Pakistan to solve all issues including Kashmir.
He said the normalcy between India and Pakistan was must for the socio-economic growth of the people of South Asian region.
Addressing a public meeting at Doda, Mufti asked all political parties, particularly the BJP that issue of continuation of dialogue with Pakistan should be above partisan political interests. He reminded that it was during the NDA regime, under the leadership of Atal Behari Vajpayee, that a composite and meaningful dialogue process was started with Pakistan- which had yielded very encouraging results.
Referring to the lead taken by Vajpayee in 2003 during his visit to Kashmir, Mufti said it had come against a grim and potentially disastrous scenario as the two nuclear armies were in combat position following the attack on the Parliament. He reminded that the announced made by Atal Behari Vajpayee on April 18, 2003 at Srinagar was historic because he had extended hands of friendship towards Pakistan at that crucial time. “It would do no credit to Vajpayee’s successors in BJP to oppose dialogue with Pakistan”, he argued, adding, “BJP should stop viewing dialogue with Pakistan with suspicion and lend support to the new efforts”.
While recalling the historical initiatives taken by the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for establishing peace in this region, Mufti said that PDP, through its conviction and vision, had convinced BJP leadership to take bold peace initiatives. He said that his party had pioneered and implemented the agenda of reconciliation and made it clear that the PDP would not allow the peace process to be derailed and sabotaged. “Peace process in one and only way to restore lasting peace in this region so our party would aggressively pursue this process”, he asserted and called upon his party workers to contribute for restoring peace in this region.
Mufti, reiterated that National Conference leadership has never allowed democracy to flourish in Jammu and Kashmir, said that people of J&K have a genuine feeling that democratic institutions were sabotaged in this region.
Referring to ‘brazenly’ rigged 1987 assembly elections, Mufti said that people of the state had lost faith the ballot due to such manipulated and rigged elections.
“With its assiduous efforts the PDP had restored peoples’ faith in the democracy but the present government headed by NC is trying to undermine the democratic institutions”, Mr Sayeed said and recalled his meeting with the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in which he had impressed on the need of reviving peoples’ faith in the democracy by ensuring free and fair elections in the State. “After my meeting, Vajpayee had announced from the Red Fort to conduct free and fair elections in Jammu and Kashmir”, he recalled and added that defeat of Omar Abdullah from Ganderbal assembly segment, which was earlier considered as citadel of NC, had revived peoples’ faith in the democracy.
“Democracy is the best way to address aspirations to the people and to involve people in the governance”, he remarked but regretted that successive NC regimes in the state have never allowed the democracy to flourish in this region. It was only after formation of PDP that an alternative was emerged in the state. He observed that formation of PDP on July 28, 1999 was turning point in the history of Jammu and Kashmir because party has emerged as credible and real voice of the people.