Mufti Slams 'use Of Force' To Stop People From Voting

28 June 2014
Kashmir Reader

Srinagar: Opposition Peoples Democratic Party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Saturday said ballot was the way out of the 'Kashmir imbroglio' and those using 'force to prevent' people from voting were negating their own political philosophy of offering a free will to the public. 'The way out of the Kashmir imbroglio is through ballot, which is the ultimate tool of empowerment and through a wise use of this instrument, the state can effectively champion its cause and secure the power to undo injustices of the past,' Sayeed said at a party meeting here. He said use of 'force to prevent people' from exercising their franchise does not add to the credibility of the people (separatists) who 'call for voluntarily election boycott'. 'While those advocating a boycott have right to do so, it amounts to negation of their own political philosophy of offering a free will to the people when they are, through violence or threat, prevented from exercising their option,' he said. The former chief minister said PDP's agenda goes beyond good governance and looks at paving the way for a dignified resolution of the Kashmir issue. 'The luxury of securing votes on one or the other pretext and then forgetting about the interests of the people, which was enjoyed by the National Conference (NC) for decades, is not available to any party now,' the PDP patron alleged. 'The democratic competition introduced by the emergence of PDP makes all political players accountable before the people's court,' he said. 'Kashmir has remained a challenge for the all the Prime Ministers since 1947 as was explained by party president Mehbooba Mufti in her speech in Parliament recently,' he said. Sayeed said Kashmir issue has to be addressed at political, diplomatic, constitutional and economic levels. 'The trust deficit between residents of the state and rest of the country has to be bridged by ensuring justice, fair play and equality before law and unless the people in the state enjoy the dividends of being part of a democratic system, the alienation levels would in turn result in more problems for them in the state,' he said. Welcoming the recent announcement of upgrading facilities for trade and travel across the LoC, Sayeed said , 'The scope of trans-LoC trade and travel should be expanded and made hassle-free to make more meaningful the 2005 initiative of reopening the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road.' 'Trade and travel facility should be extended beyond the divided families to common citizens of the two sides and double currency system along with a credible banking back-up made available to traders,' he said, adding that all trade routes as existed in the pre-independence era should also be re-opened.