Stressing the agenda of hope, peace and prosperity of her party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti has said it was not only unfair to club her party with the National Conference (NC) but part of a design to paint entire mainstream black because of the misdeeds of the present ruling dispensation. Addressing a party workers meeting of Uri in the border town she said on no scale could PDP the youngest party of the state be compared with NC that has been in the driver’s seat over most part of the last one century.
Mehbooba said speaking of PDP and NC in the same breath as objects of hate is in fact an attempt by its apologists to bail out the ruling party of six decades and create an impression of non availability of an alternative to it. She said PDP in fact is a response from the people to the need for a democratic alternative without which democracies are considered incomplete. “How can our party founded only 12 years back be compared with NC that has been responsible for all major decisions since 1931 which have mostly had a devastating effect on the state” Mehbooba asked. “During its brief tenure in government PDP only brought relief and neutralised the impact of NC rule,” she added.
On the scale of governance and showing J&K a way out of the decades long dark tunnel, Mehbooba said PDP’s stint in power with just 16 seats in assembly its performance is something that weighs heavy over decades of NC’s record. She said her party does not live in the past nor does it treat itself as at war with its political adversaries. “We only want to continue the unfinished agenda to bring permanent peace to the state, lift the siege around it, restore its dignity that has been grossly undermined and create conditions in which the people can prosper and our youth have a bright future” she said.
Mehbooba said on all these issues a strong and successful beginning had been made in 2002 but subsequent events resulted in the reversal of that process. It is now for the people of this state to enable the party resuming and carrying forward that process which could liberate us from a constant fear, uncertainty and instability that has resulted in immense trouble to several generations of Kashmiris. She said there should be no reason for continuing despondency and trouble if the people learn to use their vote for holding political parties to account as is done in real democracies like rest of the country. She said if even in large states like UP people can change political parties with decisive mandate why can’t it be done in our state where it had in the past been happening when NC received huge mandate. “Unless we learn to use the right to vote effectively and wisely the problems facing the people would not go away as any ruling party could take them for a ride which unfortunately had been happening so far” Mehbooba said.
The PDP president said Uri is a first hand witness and beneficiary of the positive change that PDP had brought in during its brief stint in power. Paying tributes to the martyrs of April 8, 2004 she said they had laid down their precious lives at Uri for reopening of the Muzaffarabad Srinagar road. She said the PDP ensured that by the following April the road was opened in spite of serious opposition to it.
Mehbooba said this has created a different atmosphere in the area even though the travel and trade on the road is only of a symbolic nature yet but once the process is taken forward to next level in accordance with our vision, entire state will regain its historic status of a major international trading centre. She said it will open immense avenues of growth and employment in the region and would result in creation of thousands of jobs and a thriving economy. “What we say and promise is something that is already under implementation as major principles for trade and travel have already been accepted by India and Pakistan but could not be carried forward because of lack of sincerity and follow up by the preset state government” she said.
Mehbooba said the ceasefire on the LOC initiated in 2003 with the efforts of PDP congress coalition which could secure even the NDA government’s support was the longest lasting silence of guns in border areas. This has enabled people of these areas to pick up threads of life and live without fear and there was a need to strengthen the atmosphere of peace which had unfortunately come under strain last year.
Mehbooba said it was most unfair that places like Uri that suffer huge damage to environment on account of the construction of power projects are not compensated. “While power produced here illuminates lives everywhere else the area itself is drowned in darkness as a result of wrong one sided agreements with the NHPC entered by the NC.” She said last year in January a youth Altaf Ahmad Sood was killed in Boniyar only for demanding electricity and while the chief minister declared it to be a murder he has failed in getting the perpetrators to justice like in countless other cases.
Speaking on this occasion senior leader Molvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari said that NC has every time befooled people with hollow slogans for vote and use the power to make money resulting in huge scams and scandals like recently drug scam etc.
Molvi said as a part of its well-designed ploy to impose economic subjugation on the people of Kashmir, the present regime is operationalizing all the devious means to push Kashmiris into perpetual darkness. Molvi added that the electricity supply has hit the worst levels since 2002, before which also the NC government had ensured that the state is starved of power. “While power tariff has been hiked manifold by the present regime, the supply has deteriorated in the Valley to the frustrating levels,” he said.
Speaking on this occasion PDP General Secretary Mohammed Dilawar Mir wondered that in the same way how and why spurious drugs are being pumped into Kashmir valley only and then supplied to the Children’s Hospital here where hundreds of kids die around the same time when these noxious drugs were administered to them. “Isn’t there a pattern working somewhere that besides slaying them by bullets in their teens why not exterminate our coming generations immediately after their birth,” Mir said and added that unfortunately the National Conference government led by Omar Abdullah seems to have become a collaborator in this lethal anti-Kashmir game-plan.