SRINAGAR: Expressing confidence that “stakeholders” would take an independent view of the Centre’s offer of dialogue, senior People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader and Minister for Public Works and Culture Naeem Akhtar hit out on Monday at the National Conference (NC) for attempting to sabotage the state’s prospects of peace and stability.
“The politics of National Conference has thrived on disruptions and turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir,” Akhtar said. “The party is convinced that it can survive only by being part of the problem rather than the solution, for which, post-2002, the entire mainstream has been campaigning in the state.”
The minister said Dr Farooq’s latest statement, wherein he warned the Hurriyat against participating in the Kashmir dialogue initiated by the Centre, has once again sent out a signal that he can use his political position only to subvert any process aimed at bringing peace and stability to Jammu and Kashmir.
“Dr Abdullah will not like a permanent and dignified solution to our problems as his party has always thrived on confusion, somersault, and U-turns, which have landed the state in a crisis affecting many generations,” Akhtar said.
He said Dr Abdullah’s latest hit-and-run statement on the eve of his departure to London is a continuation of his attempts at torpedoing every serious effort to resolve Kashmir’s problems. “People of J&K now know fully where the party stands in respect of the prevailing peace discourse in the state,” he said.
He said during the tenure of Prime Minister IK Gujral, a government of which Dr Abdullah’s National Conference was part, an initiative to open talks with the Hurriyat had met with resistance from the NC. “Dr Abdullah had threatened to revolt against India if such a peace mission was launched in the state,” Akhtar said.
“Later, when Dr Abdullah was part of the coalition led by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, and his son was a junior minister in the central government, Dr Abdullah again defied the Centre’s unilateral ceasefire. He and the then DG of J&K Police, Ashok Suri, said at that time that the ceasefire decision was not binding on the state government and the state police, which resulted in the breakdown of the central initiative.”
Akhtar said there has always been a feeling that Dr Abdullah’s autonomy resolution was inspired by the panic caused by the Vajpayee government’s efforts at engaging the Hurriyat in dialogue. “He buried the resolution after his coalition partner told him to choose between power and autonomy. Obviously, he chose power, as has been quoted by LK Advani in his biography.”
Akhtar said that going by the latest statement masked as a warning to the Hurriyat, Dr Abdullah looks like he is still using the dead horse of autonomy to subvert any process of resolving Kashmir.
“He brings out the ghost of autonomy every time he is fighting an election, to ensure that peace doesn’t return to the land that has been a victim of his family politics since 1931,” Akhtar said.
“Dr Farooq is on record having said that his government will make the Hurriyat rot in jails. On different occasions he has talked about bombarding Pakistan and showering bullets on Kashmiris. It will be better for J&K if the National Conference president explains these careless remarks first, before warning others about what to do and what not to do,” Akhtar said.
Akhtar said the NC leadership has been deluded into believing that the party has a divine right to decide the destiny of Jammu and Kashmir. “Nothing can be further from reality. Dialogue and good relations between India and Pakistan are the only way to end the turmoil in Kashmir. It is the raison d’être of Peoples Democratic Party, and we will pursue it with full force,” the minister asserted.