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Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president, Mehbooba Mufti has said the interaction process between the Hurriyat leaders and Pakistani government leadership initiated in New Delhi is a welcome revival of the process initiated by the NDA government and should be carried forward in all its dimensions.

Addressing a workers convention of the party at Kangan Monday she said the release of senior Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani is no favour to him but only the restoration of his right to expression and movement which had been curbed for the last five years.

As per a statement Mehbooba while welcoming the talks between Hurriyat leaders from the state and Sartaj Aziz, the foreign policy adviser to Pakistani Prime Minister, said “involvement of the opinion leaders from Jammu & Kashmir in the dialogue process between our country and Pakistan is inevitable if a lasting and just resolution of the problem is to be achieved.” She said all the stakeholders and schools of thought from J&K have to be taken on board in the resolution process and the Hurriyat Conferences represent an important point of view.

Mehbooba said the criticism of the talks in New Delhi is misplaced as this process was started many years back and Hurriyat leaders have been meeting the top leadership of both the governments of India and Pakistan. The Hurriyat leaders have traveled to Pakistan many times and held discussions with that country’s Presidents and Prime Ministers and it is unfortunate that some party’s like BJP and the NC has smelled rat in it and are opposing such contacts which could be very fruitful for the resolution process.

Referring to the debate over the release of senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani, Mehbooba said his release has unnecessarily been made a topic of discussion. She said, “Geelani was denied even the opportunity to offer prayers or attend social functions for all these years and now when under the public pressure government has allowed him free movement, it is being presented as a great act of generosity by the Omar Abdullah government.” She said in a democracy everybody has a right to express views and propagate them and that is why the PDP government in 2002 had released all detainees and prisoners who had been jailed by the NC for their dissenting views. “However Omar Abdullah government has now formally criminalized dissent and has held not just Geelani but many other leaders and activists captive while arresting thousands of young people and involving them in multiple police cases”, she said.

Mehbooba said it is in the hands of the people themselves to give the state a government that brings in a change, delivers justice, facilitates resolution or continue with the insensitive, corrupt, anti people and anti youth dispensation. She expressed confidence that after having tasted the misrule and atrocities of the NC government and the change that was brought in by the PDP-Congress coalition, people would judge the parties on the basis of their performance and not on hollow promises. She said the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s latest announcement that people would see a revolutionary change in health and education sectors in the next six months sounds like a cruel joke.  “ In the last five years this government dismantled institutions subverted procedures and legitimized corruption and when it is about to be defeated it has started selling dreams to the people who have suffered at their hands for most part of the last six and half decades”, she said.

Mehboba said in the health sector the performance of this government will be remembered by the mass murder of infants and children in just one hospital apart from general degradation of services. Thousands of doctors are without job whereas government has failed to fill up countless vacancies of doctors and para medical staff.

Similarly in education this government has failed to benefit from the flagship schemes like SSA and RAMSA. The schools and colleges are under staff and skill development claims have proved false on the other hand the examination system has collapsed and its credibility severely damaged. In this background talking of a revolution in six months after wasting five years makes no sense.

Referring to the organizational matters Mehbooba said she was glad that a dedicated team of young leaders were carrying forward the party agenda in Kangan constituency. She said the leaders like Bashir Ahmad Mir and Syed Irfan are full of zeal and leadership qualities. Indicating that Bashir Ahmad Mir would be the party’s candidate from Kangan constituency in next Assembly elections Mehbooba urged the cadres to strengthen his hands and work from today for a big lead in this segment in the Lok Sabha elections which are likely to be held in April- May next years.



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