November 2016 News

Shutdown Call Has Become A 'joke': Muzaffar Baig

13 November 2016
Greater Kashmir
Muddasir Ali

Srinagar: Criticizing separatists for rejecting to 'enter into dialogue' over Kashmir, senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and Member Parliament Muzaffar Hussain Baig Sunday said the shutdown call has become a 'joke' and asked the resistance camp to rethink their strategy. He described the past four months of unrest in Kashmir as the 'dark period' and while referring to the killing of rebel commander Burhan Wani said a person was killed under a conspiracy to try and overthrow Mehbooba Mufti led government. 'What have separatists got by rejecting to enter into dialogue process? They are inflicting atrocities on people and they will have to be accountable for it. Look at the roads outside. Where is Hartal now? It has become a joke,' said Baig addressing a 'convention of workers' from central Kashmir at party headquarters here. Outside the venue, the 'Sunday market' was open and the vendors, who had decorated the stalls with variety of items ranging from clothing to kitchenware to electronic items, witnessed a rush of people as traffic movement increased with every passing hour. 'Now, one of their colleagues, Prof (Abdul) Gani Bhat says that the leaders are like blind riders riding lame horses,' Baig attacked the resistance camp. Bhat, the former Hurriyat chairman and head of Muslim League had on Friday criticized the separatists for the ongoing shutdown in Kashmir saying 'Our leaders are like a blind rider on a lame horse. Horse cannot run and they also don't know where to take it our strategy is like jumping into a river. But before doing so, we don't even pause to think how to cross it'. It was for the first time since July 8 this year post-Burhan killing that the PDP held a function in Srinagar, considered to be stronghold of the separatists. The rally, which was the first event by any mainstream party here, started in the morning and went on till afternoon. It was attended by a few thousand 'party workers' from three districts of central Kashmir, Srinagar, Ganderbal and Budgam. Referring to the ongoing uprising, Baig said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and government of India tried in the past four months to reach out to separatists, but they (separatists) 'shut the doors.' Crediting the PDP for 'persuading' New Delhi to sent All Party Delegation to Kashmir in September this year for engaging resistance camp, Baig said: 'Do you think the MPs came on their own? It was Mehbooba Ji and PDP who prepared the center to send the delegation. 'But what did they (separatists) do? They shut their doors. The Home Minister came twice and pleaded for dialogue,' said Baig. Asking Hurriyat to rethink their strategy, Baig said: 'For how long will you give false hope to people. Who is responsible for the bloodshed? They (separatists) will have to rethink what they want to do and we will keep speaking truth that dialogue and not guns will resolve Kashmir,' said Baig. Talking about the past four months, Baig said: 'These four months have been period of darkness and atrocitiesbut it was propaganda against PDP and Mehbooba Ji to defame them.' At least 95 civilians have been killed and over 15000 persons injured in security forces' action during past four months of protests, shutdowns and government enforced restriction in Kashmir. For the past one month the level of protests has gone down and traffic has started to return to the roads. Many PDP workers who spoke to Greater Kashmir said they reached the venue in their own private vehicles. Without naming anybody Baig while referring to the unrest, said 'those people' hatched conspiracy to try and overthrow the PDP led government. 'Allah taala Burhan Ko magfirat karray. Ek aadmi ki jaan li unhoonay Mehbooba ji ko giranay kay liya (May Allah rest Burhan's soul in peace! They killed one person to overthrow the government of Mehbooba),' said Baig who is a former deputy chief minister. On demonetization He described as 'bold move' by Modi to demonetize the denomination notes of Rs 1000 and Rs 500, saying no other Prime Minister could have taken such a strong step. 'Today people are throwing money into rivers and even Rahul Gandhi (Congress vice-President) stands in queue outside bank to get exchange of old currency notes.' 'Modi took the decision because people are with him,' said Baig. On PDP-BJP alliance Baig said the PDP entered into alliance with BJP on the condition that the later will support his party to implement their agenda. 'But God forbid if they retract we will not hesitate to give up the chair,' said Baig. Referring to Modi's sudden visit to Pakistan earlier this year, Baig said the Prime Minister took the decision claiming that the BJP has an agreement with the PDP that it will encourage friendship with Islamabad. 'It is because of PDP that Modi went to Pakistan and sat on the floor with Nawaz Sharief. But unfortunately Pathankot happened then,' said Baig. Referring to the recent hunger strike by inmates in Baramulla jail, Baig said they (inmates) are 'enjoying' many facilities including televisions and heating arrangements there. 'Aesh kartay hain, yeh Ganderbali ka zamana nahi hain ki mirchi thoktay thay . . . I appeal to authorities to send me to jail for some days so that I can also enjoy these facilities,' Baig said. He cautioned the government to act against the officials who were drawing salary from public exchequer but, according to him were working for other parties. Others who spoke Talking to reporters, senior party leader Naem Akhter while talking about the convention refused to link the event with the situation. 'The situations are temporary but the ideology and philosophy of a party is always permanent. We believe in our party agenda and that is why we called the workers from the central Kashmir for this convention,' Akhter said. He said the party would hold more such programs in coming times. To a question on Kashmir issue, he said all the stakeholders need to sit together to find a way out. 'That is why we have entered into alliance with the BJP as we hope that the Prime Minister will find a way out to resolve this issue,' said Akhter. 'It is our belief that there is no substitute to dialogue.' Extolling the participation of workers, party General Secretary Muhammad Sartaj Madni said their 'support vindicates the popular base of PDP and the ideological commitment of its supporters'. 'Party has and will come out safe and secure with a fresh resolve to accomplish the vision of Mufti Sahab which envisages resolution of Kashmir issue through empowerment of the democratic institutions, self-reliance and sustenance of a strong society,' Madni said. Senior party leader Nizamuddin Bhat hailed efforts of the Prime Minister for trying to restore friendly relations with Pakistan. 'The present acrimonious atmosphere will end soon to allow the alliance to take forward the set objectives for a better future and political stability in the region,' Bhat asserted. Among other party leaders who attended the convention were Agriculture Minister Ghulam Nabi Lone and youth president Waheed-Ur-Rehman Parra.