Mufti Mohammed Sayeed Too Has An Unfinished Agenda

5 June 2015

Srinagar: Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, when he took over as chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, had expected a peaceful Line of Control (LoC) so that he could concentrate on governance and spur economic development in the state. But his expectations have been belied. The intrusions from across the Line of Control have continued and Pakistan's leaders remain belligerent. The latest statement from Pakistan's Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif, that Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of the partition in 1947, and Pakistan and Kashmir are inseparable, is adding to the tensions prevailing in the state. General Sharif's statement comes soon after Islamabad's decision to hold 'elections' in Gilgit -Baltistan. The area is a part of undivided Jammu and Kashmir. Ever since the annexation by Pakistan of a part of Kashmir, the area has been run like a colony, and people in the area have been demanding more say. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has deplored the holding of elections in Gilgit Baltistan, but people do not expect Pakistan to change its mind. Not a week has passed when there has been no incident along the Line of Control. Separatists inside the state have been indulging in activities which would disturb the peaceful atmosphere . The state government has shifted to Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, but the Kashmir Valley continues to be under tension. The latest act of the militants has been the attacks on the telecommunication towers in the state. The act has virtually cut off mobile telephone users in Kashmir. It has also been an irritant to tourists who are in the state during the summer season. The Hizb-ul-Mujahideen has been held responsible for the attack on the towers as also mobile vendors in the state. Chief Minister Sayeed has described the attacks on telecommunication installations as a 'temporary phase', and has stated that action would be taken against those responsible for such incidents. He has an unfinished agenda to spur development. Sayeed said the people of the state had seen a lot of difficulties and now wanted to see peace, and an attack on mobile towers would not affect the government's endeavour to provide a peaceful atmosphere. The PDP-BJP government has yet to implement policies which prove that all parts of the state would advance economically. The Jammu region expects that it would receive a fair share of funds. So does Ladakh. There is controversy regarding the location of a medical institution on the lines of All India Institute of Medical Sciences. Meanwhile, controversies which detract from development and governance continue. The latest one has been the issue of a passport to Syed Ali Shah Geelani to visit his ailing daughter in the UAE. Geelani has refused to state that he is an Indian national. How then can he be given an Indian passport? Very few know that Geelani had contested elections thrice and took oath as a member of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly mandatory under Article 64 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir affirming in the name of Allah that Ï will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the State as law established and that I will up hold the sovereignty and integrity of India' Geelani is still getting pension as a three time MLA. The other controversy has been the demand for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. The demand has gained momentum following the withdrawal of the Act from parts of Tripura, where it has been in force for the last 18 years. The moderate Hurriyat Conference has stated that the revocation of the AFSPA from Tripura should serve as an 'eye opener ' for the Jammu and Kashmir ruling class. But will the Hurriyat help in the return of peace in the state. The Act , passed by Parliament in 1958, was first implemented in the north east . It is in force in Nagaland, Manipur, parts of Meghalaya and Arunachal. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has made it clear that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is mandatory if the Army has to be deployed in the state. He said that the decision, in the final analysis, has to be taken by the central Home Ministry A Home Ministry team is visiting the state to review the situation this week. There are many issues that need to be decided, the first and foremost being the rehabilitation of flood affected people in the Kashmir Valley. The tourist season has commenced . Mufti Mohammed Sayeed was in Mumbai recently to persuade the film industry to come to Kashmir and revive old memories. Mufti also hosted an international Buyer-Seller Meet to promote 'Brand Kashmir' to promote the handicraft sector in the State. Development and governance is Mufti's 'unfinished agenda'.