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Create conditions for free participation of parties in political process: Bukhari to govt

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Alleges ‘PAGD has given up on its basic agenda’

Srinagar: Former minister and Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari Monday asked the government to create an atmosphere conducive for parties to freely participate in the political process.

“As the political process is going to be started, an environment should be created so that people from every political party operating here move freely, convey their message freely so that people at the grassroots participate in the political process,” Bukhari told a press conference here after the party’s core group meeting.

The Apni Party chief expressed optimism that the Centre will restore Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood.

“I am optimistic that the government of India will restore it. It is committed to Parliament, it is committed to the people of J&K, it is committed to us as Apni Party,” he said.

Bukhari criticised the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) wondering if it has forgotten its promises with the people.

“The PAGD attended two meetings – the all-party meeting with the PM and the opposition parties’ meet. Did you see any word on Article 370?” he said, adding, it indicates the alliance has given up on its basic agenda.

“There is no room for shifting stands in Apni Party while as we see that PAGD on one hand is speaking about the ‘no compromise’ on Article-370 and 35A, but on the same time it becomes a signatory to Opposition memorandums that don’t even mention about the restoration of these special Laws. PAGD is trying to keep the people away from development-based politics through its hollow and emotional slogans. It is only because its constituents don’t want to be held accountable for their dismal failures and historical blunders committed from time to time for the sake of power,” he said.

According to a party press release, Bukhari said it seems that the major constituents of PAGD are unable to comprehend the fast-changing geo-political dynamics in the region and want people of J&K to perpetually get consumed to the nefarious designs of the forces inimical to peace.

“These parties continued to cling to power despite hundreds being killed and thousands being blinded under their noses. However, fear-mongering still remains a vital tool in the hands of PAGD in order to secure its vote-bank as these factions want to regain their lost credibility and relevance among the people of J&K,” he remarked.

Bukhari claimed that Apni Party has “not only safeguarded the socio-economic and legal rights of the people but also ensured measures by the government of India to create an enabling and peaceful atmosphere in Jammu and Kashmir”.

“We are also desirous of restoration of special status to J&K and we expect a favorable decision by the Supreme Court in this regard. Even if the apex court’s verdict disregards peoples’ aspirations, Apni Party will pursue the same with the leadership of the country,” he said.

Referring to the remarks made by President Ram Nath Kovind during his recent visit to J&K wherein he said, democracy has within its capacity to reconcile all differences, Bukhari reiterated his party’s demand for restoration of statehood and early elections in J&K.

He said that the grievances of the people are addressed by an elected and accountable government and cannot be substituted by any bureaucratic regime.

“Our demand assumes more significance in view of the remarks made by the Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs which in its recent visit to J&K expressed satisfaction over the security situation saying that militancy is at an all-time low and there have been no instances of stone pelting in the valley,” he observed.

Bukhari demanded that the process of delimitation should be expedited as it can catalyze the electoral process in J&K.

He said during the meeting, party leaders demanded a thorough security review of political activists so that they can continue with a hassle-free political process across Jammu and Kashmir.

“Security of political activists, irrespective of their party affiliations, needs to be reviewed. Besides, we would also like to appeal to other political parties to stop their two-hoot policy and join Apni Party’s pragmatic politics in order to prevent further loss of life in J&K,” Apni Party leadership observed, according to the party press release.

It said they also raised serious concerns over the exponential increase in unemployment rates while seeking stern actions against those involved in corruption, irrespective of their position and status.

“Regularization of casual laborers, daily-wagers, ITI skilled, need-based, HDF, NYCs, computer operators and consolidated workers is a must. Similarly, infusing capital for the revival of PSUs, disbursing of salaries, pension to PSU employees, retirees, adjudication of land compensation cases and issues faced by the mining sector across J&K need to be resolved once for all,” they said.

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