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Repeal AFSPA for a credible democratic set up: Mufti
SRINAGAR, June 20: Former chief minister and PDP patron, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, today called for strengthening of democratic and civil institutions in J&K to pave the way for the settlement of Kashmir issue through the globally accepted means.

Addressing party office bearers from Srinagar parliamentary constituency Mufti said democratic space could no longer be squeezed for security concerns.

“It was important that security concerns are addressed but not without providing a full democratic space to people, where they could run their civil institutions without someone having to breathe down their neck,” he observed and said laws like the AFSPA have to go to realize a credible restoration of democracy in the state.

“PDP’s aim is to pave the way for resolution of Kashmir issue through democratic methods,” he said and added that it was fundamental that the people of J&K enjoy complete liberties within democratic system as available to other parts of the country. He said restoration of all human rights by revoking emergency laws are not just slogans for the PDP but a historical necessity for bringing people of the state back from deep seated sense of injustice, deprivation and alienation.

Rolling back the legislations like AFSPA was inescapable, he said. Mufti stated that PDP has from the very beginning delivered on this front with credit. He recalled that he had taken up the revocation of AFSPA with the prime minister; and to review the law a high level committee was constituted by the central government in 2007 on his initiative. “But subsequent events resulted in logjam like most other initiatives that were taken by the PDP-Congress government,” he said and regretted that this important issue had now been reduced to a mere slogan to hide failure on governance front.

Questioning the wisdom of asking the security forces to prevent recourse of educated youth to join armed resistance, Mufti said it would signify failure of the political leadership. He said no research is needed for finding out the reasons for youth to feel driven to arms even after the futility of violence and its disastrous fallout has dawned on everybody. “The youth are clearly alienated for a variety of reasons that include police repression, injustice, scandalous employment policy and muzzling of dissent by the government,” said Mufti while appealing young people to strengthen democratic process and secure empowerment through the system. He said the role of youth in the coming elections will be crucial in making governments accountable for their performance and securing the individual and collective rights of people.

PDP patron said from its inception, his party has struggled against the official repression and after coming to power in 2002 it immediately began by disbanding the Task Force and other instruments of terror. The common minimum programme (CMP) between PDP-Congress listed withdrawal of draconian laws as a priority, he said adding: “We began by repealing POTA, which had been introduced by previous government, and in 2007 identified revocation of AFSPA as a focus area in view of the vastly improved situation.”

It is the part of the political agenda of PDP that there has to be restoration of trust between people of Kashmir and rest of the country on the basis of shared values of democracy. He said democracy was not just a ritual of having elections but a way of life in which everyone feels empowered and constantly engaged in running the affairs of the state. “Unfortunately Jammu and Kashmir has been in deficit on this score ever since independence and in a major sense responsible for the crisis successive generations have faced,” said Mufti.

News Updated at : Friday, June 21, 2013
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