Appealing to the Centre to restore statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari on Saturday said the people of J&K now want their own government and restoration of their identity.
Addressing a well-attended public meeting in Srinagar on Saturday, Bukhari said, “This is the promise of the Home Minister (Amit Shah), kindly restore statehood to us as existed on August 5, 2019.”
Stating that “J&K’s fate is tied to India,” Bukhari said, “In 1947, the J&K dispensation made a decision and since then our future is attached to India. They have caused us grief also but the solution to these troubles will also come from India.”
The J&K Apni Party (JKAP) was founded in March 2020 after the revocation of special status to J&K when Bikhari and other leaders resigned from the PDP.
He added that people should not pay heed to leaders who make “tall claims” about restoration of Article 370, because that fight was going on in the Supreme Court. “I understand the sentiment attached to Article 370 and 35A. Only the Supreme Court can give these back. We will hire the best lawyers and fight this in the top court. This can’t be restored through elections.”
Bukhari called for “burying old politics” and seeking “a new politics of peace and development”, where there is no discrimination between Kashmir and Jammu, and advocated for the return of exiled Pandits to the valley.
Speaking on Kashmiri youths languishing in jails, Bukhari said, “We have decided to form a team to visit jails in J&K and outside to take stock of the situation. We will meet the Prime Minister seeking a new lease of life for them.”
Sounding the poll bugle, Bukhari announced several measures for the people of J&K if elected to power. From regularising daily wagers in various government departments to promising 500 units of free electricity and government assistance to fruit growers from the valley, Bukhari offered to ease the burden on the people.
“When we get power, we will enhance pensions, look at enhancing electricity production and take measures to get better prices for our handicrafts,” he said.
Party workers from all districts of Kashmir attended the rally.
“We have placed our faith in Bukhari sahab because he tells things plainly. He is not making unrealistic promises. My concern is education and employment for my children and he is talking about those things,” Mukhtar Ahmad from Sopore, who attended the rally, said.
Meanwhile, earlier this week, Mehbooba Mufti-led People’s Democratic Party cancelled its youth convention scheduled for Sunday in anticipation of an India-Pakistan contest in the ongoing T20 cricket world cup.