‘Time ripe to remove mistrust between Delhi and J&K’
Srinagar, Mar 8:
Businessman turned politician Altaf Bukhari Sunday launched the Jammu and
Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) here saying he will work to remove the “mistrust”
between New Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir.
who is a graduate in agriculture science, announced the formation of the JKAP
at his residence and was flanked by former MLAs and senior leaders of political
parties like the National Conference (NC), the PDP, the Congress and the BJP,
besides some former Independent legislators.
He was elected
president of the JKAP unanimously.
Bukhari said his
party will not hesitate to work in coordination with New Delhi if elected to
misgivings with people of Jammu and Kashmir and we too have misgivings with New
Delhi. It is the people of Jammu and
Kashmir who have a bundle of problems and nobody is going to resolve them
unless we don’t approach and deal with the Centre,” he said.
“When we talk
about Union Territory, a ruling party has to deal with New Delhi. We don’t look
at New Delhi through the prism of who is ruling but Centre as a whole,” the
former finance minister said.
He vowed to work
towards restoring J&K’s statehood and ensure domicile rights of people in
jobs and education, while saying demoting the state to a Union Territory was
“unpleasant and bitter”.
Bukhari said the
“lack of credible voices” in the Union Territory promote him and his team to
formally form a new political party.
“People here feel
the absence of credible voices that can take up their issues and get them
sorted. So we launched a party which is led by commoners, for the commoners and
of the commoners. This party is not floated by a family,” he said.
Bukhari said that
his party will ensure that anybody who becomes its president cannot be elected
more than two times.
“After August 5,
a lot has changed. People are in despair, tourism is reduced to zero and local
industries have closed down. In that view, challenges are huge. It is an
endeavour to see how we can restore the semblance of these things,” the
former finance minister added.
In his list of
agendas, Bukhari said the party will primarily work for restoration of
statehood, domicile rights on land and jobs, holistic and an equitable
development of all the regions and dignified return of Kashmiri Pandits.
“We are not here
to sell dreams and fantasies but will always be pragmatic, honest and fair in
our approach. We have resolved to create a political platform where people are
real stakeholders of the political process. We are a regional party with a
national outlook,” he said.
Asked he was
viewed as Kashmir’s next Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad for floating a party when three
former chief ministers are under detention, Bukhari said the prevailing
conditions in Kashmir and his conscience “didn’t allow him to remain silent.”
“Bakshi sahab had
a political and economic vision, which is the need of hour. Situation of
business in Kashmir is very bad and my conscience didn’t allow me to stay
silent. My voice may not be relevant today but surely in future,” he said.
Bukhari denied of
having any backing from BJP in floating the party in Jammu and Kashmir and said
his decisions are driven by himself.
“It is a norm here that whenever anybody takes
people’s stand, he is labelled as BJP’s man. Altaf Bukhari is individual and my
decisions are driven by myself only. Our politics will be a politics of truth,”
He further added
that his party is concerned about the slapping of Public Safety Act on
politicians and people after the abrogation of article 370.
accompanied by many leaders including Ghulam Hassan Mir, Choudhary Zulfikar
Ali, Usman Majid, Muhammad Dilawar Mir, Rafi Mir, Jagmohan Singh Raina,
Muhammad Ashraf Mir, Vijay Bakaya, Shoiab Nabi Lone, Muhammad Yawar Mir,
Manjeet Singh, Javaid Hassan Baigh, Advocate Manzoor Khan and others.