SRINAGAR: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Wednesday said whichever government assumes power in New Delhi needs to further strengthen Article 370 and “forget about abrogating it.”
“Whosoever assumes power at the Centre will have to add to the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and forget about abrogating Article 370,” Mufti told reporters while accompanying party candidate for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat Tariq Hameed Karra for filing nomination papers at the Deputy Commissioner’s office here.
Mufti said it was only during the PDP’s tenure in the state that the then BJP- led NDA government started a dialogue process with Pakistan.
“When we were in power , the then prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan and started a new peace process with that country. Even L K Advani held two rounds of dialogue with Kashmiri separatist leaders,” Sayeed said.
He urged New Delhi to frame a policy on Kashmir so that the issue would be resolved peacefully as it can’t be resolved by the dint of gun.
Taking credit for the LoC truce, Sayeed said PDP took forward the “peace process started by Vajpayee and the situation improved here.”
He also claimed that NDA government used all options on Kashmir when PDP was in power in the state.
He also claimed that no youth or any political leader was detained during the PDP’s tenure.
Coming down heavily on the NC-Congress alliance , Sayeed said their rule had proved to be detrimental for the state.
“Their alliance in 1987 resulted in militancy while their alliance in 2008 resulted in the hanging of Afzal Guru,” he said.
“Didn’t UPA government have anybody else other than Afzal Guru to hang? New Delhi couldn’t make the decision to hang a J&K resident without informing the state’s chief minister,” he said.
He also claimed that PDP candidates will represent the aspiration of people of Kashmir in the Indian parliament.
‘We tried to make Srinagar city Venice’
Sayeed said his party had done a lot for Srinagar when it came in power in 2002.
“We have written a new chapter in the history of Jammu and Kashmir in 2002. No youth was jailed and no political prisoner was seen anywhere. We tried to carry forward a process of peace to normalise the situation here.
“We are going to the people to get their confidence. We have put our best foot forward and are hopeful of good results. There is an environment of change in the state,” he said.
He said he does not want to foretell what the results would be.
“I do not want to foretell anything. I tried to make Srinagar city as Venice. This is a historical city and we had an all-round development here. What has this government done?” he said. .
‘Hurriyat role imperative in K-resolution’
The PDP patron also said that his party welcomed Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s opinion about the role of Members of Parliament in resolving the Kashmir issue.
“We are on the same page as Mirwaiz regarding the issue,” Sayeed said, referring to Mirwaiz’s open letter to the Indian public and leadership.
He said that Hurriyat is an important component for addressing Kashmir issue.