Riyaz Ul Khaliq
Breaking her 40-days long silence following her father’s demise, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti Sunday said that if people of J&K are made stakeholders in peace process, government formation will not take time.
Resuming her political activities with the launch of state-wide membership drive from Srinagar district, Mehbooba said that “her father made a sacrifice”.
Without mentioning alliance with rightwing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), Mehbooba said, “the first sacrifice was made by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah but he could not withstand that.”
“Yes, it (aligning with BJP) was sacrifice on part of my father but he would never make U-turns,” she said.
Flanked by party leaders Nizamuddin Bhat, Altaf Bukhari, Rafi Mir, Khursheed Aalam, Mehbooba said, “My father never ran after power and chair. These things did not matter for him but he worked for people and for that he would never tread easy paths.”
Lauding the role of former BJP PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee for opening Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road in last PDP-Congress dispensation, Mehbooba said, “My father decided to join a big power and it was his wish that the people should be empowered. It was PDP-Congress government in J&K but Vajpayee Ji decided to open borders. Militancy was at its peak but he went to Lahore in bus.”
Asking people not to lose hope, Mehbooba said, “My father symbolised hope and satisfaction. His legacy is not CM’s chair but the people of J&K. He always tread road not taken and he proved himself right.”
“Here are many parties who did 1975 accord, but they could not do what Mufti did in his 2002-05 tenure as CM,” she said. “My father had a political career of over 50 years but his 12 years as CM and union minister were different.”
Without naming anyone, Mehbooba said, many big leaders blamed Kashmiris. “They alleged Kashmiris trusted none but my father challenged it and told Delhi that mistakes have been done by us (unionists) or somewhere by you (Delhi).”
“People lauded the 2002-05 era of Mufti as CM and that is how they trusted PDP and their wasn’t same atmosphere,” she said.
Recalling her father’s contribution, she said, “Mufti sahab did not care for power and when he was asked about his joining hands with BJP and the costs it had for PDP, he replied: ‘there will be no loss; another party may win next elections but I want to work for my people.’ ”
“I have been listening for last one and a half months about government formation but I want to tell all them that only if the mission, vision and agenda of Mufti sahab is taken forward, government formation will take no time.”
Mehbooba said that her father was witness to what was happening in India and “how voters make and bring down kings”.
“When he returned home, he took a different path which was not easy. He could have easily made his career but his love for his people who are suffering for last sixty years made him to work at a different level.”
Lauding the recent visit of PM Narendra Modi to Pakistan, Mehbooba said, “it was vision of Mufti sahab to make J&K bridge of peace between India and Pakistan and the decision of Modi Ji to visit Lahore made my father very happy.”
“When I broke news of Modi’s Lahore visit to my father in AIIMS, he was satisfied. He replied, ‘at least I could make powerful people understand the importance of engaging with Pakistan’.”
“When there is unease on borders, people of J&K suffer; trade doesn’t stop in Punjab but our cross LoC points are closed,” she added.
“Mufti sahab was concerned whether relief was transferred to flood hit people. He was concerned whether more KP accommodations were completed at Humhama or not,” Mehbooba recalled late Mufti’s last days in AIIMS.
Linking development of J&K with the peace on borders, she further said, “I feel pain of those mothers whose sons die in encounters. BA, MA graduates are dying,” she said, “it is responsibility of our party to create atmosphere of reconciliation, resolution and development.”
She asserted, “if we feel that sitting in chair (CM’s chair) can fulfil this agenda then it is worth to be accepted or we will continue as it is. But amid encounters, killings it is not possible. My legacy is people of J&K not CM’s chair.”
Lauding youth of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba without naming militant commander Burhan Wani said, “We have a sister of a militant who secured position in recently declared 12th class results. Our youth are most intelligent and they are making us proud.”