Outlining his party’s vision for “revival and development” of the historic city of Srinagar, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Thursday urged the Srinagarites to join his mission for ending the political uncertainty and economic deprivation plaguing Jammu and Kashmir.
“I am here today asking for your support, your cooperation and your active participation, to give me a strong mandate for embarking on the challenging task of recovery, reconstruction, revival and reconciliation,” Mufti said while addressing an impressive election rally at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium here.
Mufti said the credibility of people gained by him in his more than five decades long political career is his main achievement and he will use this asset to pull Jammu and Kashmir out of its political uncertainties and economic deprivation. “Time has come for the emancipated voters of Srinagar to take stock of what this historic city stands for and what they want it to stand for in the future,” he said adding; “Our future generations will judge us very harshly if we don’t take advantage of this historic opportunity to change the destiny of the State and its people and defend its special status.”
Mufti said PDP has emerged as a strong unifying force between regions and communities in the State, and the party won’t allow the divisive forces to cause any harm to the distinct identity of Jammu and Kashmir. “If you want people of Jammu and Kashmir to get emotionally connected with the rest of the country, you can’t do so by creating division between Kashmir and Jammu, saying one thing there and another thing here,” he said and added that the government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has to adopt a holistic and inclusive approach to win the hearts and minds of the people in Jammu and Kashmir.
Mufti said the Hindus and Muslims have a shared history of more 1000 years in the sub-continent and every effort should be made to preserve it. “Any effort to fiddle with India’s pluralistic character will have implications not only for the country but the whole region,” he said.
Complimenting the Election Commission of India for ensuring by and large free and fair elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Mufti said it has not only strengthened the people’s faith in the democratic institutions and processes, but they now see peaceful and democratic means as the effective way to seek the resolution of their political and economic problems. “I hope the emancipated voters of Srinagar would join this movement for change with enthusiasm as their participation in polls would add credibility and value to the ongoing democratic process,” he said.
Mufti said once voted to serve; the PDP will withdraw FIRs against the youth in all false and fabricated cases. He also said the unnecessary restrictions on issuance of passport will be lifted.
Mufti said unfortunately the NC-Congress coalition government virtually abandoned its duty towards the people of the state in general and the Srinagar city in particular during the past six years. “The governance crisis that was rampant during the past six years took a toll on all areas and regions and the worst part was the complete collapse of the government during the devastating September floods,” he said and added that while rebuilding of flood-hit infrastructure and revival of flood-affected livelihood would be the first priority of PDP if it gets the people’s mandate to form the new government, his vision for Srinagar includes a distinct developmental model for the city which will not only encompass its historic essence but give it a modern look with state-of-the art infrastructure in road communication, metro system for city, traffic management, power supply, drinking water and drainage system.
Mufti said his government will focus on ensuring financial security of the educated youth of Srinagar including women who have to otherwise face many social issues. “Revival of Jhelum beautification and Dal conservation programs and developing Old City as a heritage hub for tourism would be our other priority areas,” he said and added that his government would use its influence with the progressive and democratic forces in the country to ensure that Jammu and Kashmir gets its due share in the developmental funds and the same is used for the better of the State.
He said a separate Flood Protection Master Plan would be formulated for Srinagar to safeguard the city from future disasters. He said public infrastructure, housing and civic amenities would be other focus areas.