Mufti Wants Elected Governor In Kashmir
19 October 2006
Srinagar: Former chief minister, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed today said that the governor of the state must be appointed through elections as used to be the case earlier, and that the article 356 must not be applicable to the state. Addressing a public meeting in Ganderbal, Mufti said that in Tamil Nadu opponents of the centre have been in power since 1977, but article 356 was never imposed on the state. 'Similarly, the article must not be imposed on Jammu and Kashmir, and whatever decision the people take must be honoured,' he said, adding that the party that receives the public mandate in elections must be authorized to form the government. Mufti advocated a division of powers between the centre and the state 'so that the state decides on its own what is in its interest.' The former chief minister said that the Kashmir issue did not concern the state alone but was a matter of improving relations with Pakistan so that distances are erased and togetherness promoted. Mufti said that the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan meeting next month would take a decision on trade through the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route so that Kashmiri fruit reaches markets in Rawalpindi without any toll tax. He said that he was going to the United Nations next month with the self-rule formula and the agenda of peace, which he would discuss with world leaders. 'The self-rule formula safeguards the political, constitutional, social and economic rights of all regions of the state,' he said. According to Mufti, the 'autonomy balloon' had been deflated within no time, while the self rule formula had emerged as durable and lasting solution to the Kashmir issue. 'The PDP cannot claim that it alone can resolve the issue, but the role that it has played since 1999 indicates that it has an important part to play in the resolution process,' he said. 'This is the reason that it is sharing power with the Congress.' 'The purpose was not attaining power but moving forward (with the Congress) to achieve a certain objective,' he said. Mufti said that enough blood had been shed and now there must be no more loss of human lives. 'This is the message that I am taking to the US so that the services of world leaders can be obtained to establish peace in the state,' he said.