Dialogue will lead to long-term strategic partnership between India, Pakistan: Mufti
PDP will achieve its goals on political, developmental fronts: Mehbooba
He also announced framing of a Political Affairs’ Committee within PDP to give a new direction to the agenda of the party, in tune with the aspirations and wishes of the people. “Our responsibility is to sustain the trust and confidence that people continue to repose in us,” he said, while chairing a high-level meeting attended by the party top brass, here today.
Member Parliament and PDP President, Mehbooba Mufti, co-chaired the nearly four-hour-long brainstorming session, which was called to obtain firsthand feedback on the functioning of the government.
All Ministers, Legislators, senior leaders, contesting candidates, office-bearers from the entire state, District Presidents and General Secretaries of the party attended the meeting.
Speaking at the end, Mufti Sayeed said he had called the meeting to deliberate and discuss various issues and opinions face-to-face and to devise a strategy to strengthen the party. He said it was important to obtain feedback to make a reality check vis-a-vis performance of the government.
Welcoming the breakthrough on holding of Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue between India and Pakistan, the PDP Patron hoped both the countries will clear the decks for carrying forward the process of reconciliation. “There is a paradigm shift in New Delhi’s policy towards Islamabad. Now that both the countries have shown great maturity to re-engage, it has generated hope and expectation among the people of Jammu & Kashmir, who have for long yearned for peace and stability in the region,” he said, while invoking his slogan of Na Bandook Se Na Goli Se Baat Banegi Boli Se.
Referring to some of the milestones achieved on Indo-Pak front during his earlier tenure as Chief Minister in 2002, Mufti Sayeed said people of J&K are direct beneficiaries of friendly and peaceful relations between the two neighbours. “I have always maintained that dialogue is an evolutionary process in which results are not achieved in a single day,” he added.
Reiterating that he has no lust for power, Mufti Sayeed said he chose to create a platform (PDP) for articulating the aspirations of the people of his state. He credited former Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, for restoring the trust of the people in the democratic institutions by holding free and fair elections in 2002 which saw PDP emerge as a powerful alternative on the political stage of the state. “People joined PDP because they saw a ray of hope in the party. My government will ensure that no region harbours any feeling of deprivation or discrimination,” he stated.
Urging party leaders to pan out and connect themselves with the field functionaries at the ground level, the Chief Minister said the proposed Political Affairs’ Committee shall be entrusted with the job of sustaining the trust and confidence of the people that PDP enjoys. He assured the people of a transparent and efficient administration, which is responsive to their needs at the ground level. “The Agenda of the Alliance is the driving force of our coalition with the BJP. We will ensure that all its critical elements are addressed and implemented in letter and spirit,” he stated.
Referring to the state’s special status guaranteed under the Constitution of India, Mufti Sayeed said even the Agenda of the Alliance recognizes this special position of the state. He also described the Legislature of J&K as one of the most powerful institutions in the country.
Responding to the different shades of opinion expressed by the members during the meeting on upcoming elections to Urban Bodies & Panchayats, the PDP Patron said he believes in building credible institutions to empower people at the grassroots’ level. He cited the example of India’s flourishing democracy, which he said was possible only due to continued devolution of powers to the grassroots-level institutions. “We have to give people space and create a buffer which allows people to take their own decisions. Time has come to make people partners in the development process which can only be achieved by having elected bodies at all levels of governance,” he said, adding it will also enable the government to access a large pool of Central funds.
Highlighting his immediate concerns on the economic front, Mufti Sayeed passed instructions for quick disbursement of relief, particularly among those victims who lost their homes in the 2014 floods. He said with the funds’ package announced by the Centre, the state is well on course to witness major strides on the development front.
The Chief Minister also asked the concerned Ministers to reach out to the people and clear air on issues related to the implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA) in the state as well as the policy of rationalization in the Education Department, particularly related to the ban on private tuition of government teachers and regularization of ReTs (Rehbar-e-Taleems). He was also briefed about the new transfer policy on the anvil in the Education Department, which offers security of tenure to its teachers.
Mufti Sayeed also reviewed functioning of various departments headed by Ministers which included A. R. Veeri, Javed Mustafa Mir, Abdul Haq Khan, Syed Basharat Bukhari, Ch. Zulfkar, Dr. Haseeb A. Drabu, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, Ghulam Nabi Lone (Hanjoora), Imran Raza Ansari and Naeem Akhtar.
The Chief Minister praised his party cadres for supporting him through thick and thin and reposing faith in his leadership. “Whatever I am today is because of my party workers,” he stated.
Asserting her commitment to achieve party’s goals on political and development fronts, Mehbooba Mufti, in her address termed PDP’s stand on all issues as clear and unambiguous. She said the recent thaw in relations between India and Pakistan, broadening of the cross-LoC trade and travel and gelling of the three regions of the state together were positive outcomes of the concerted efforts of PDP to bring permanent stability in the region.
Referring to the economic package announced by the Centre for J&K, the PDP President said the real challenge before the government lay in spending the funds judiciously so that its benefits percolate to the people at the ground level. She said the government has done an excellent job in announcing new schemes like Ladli Beti and AASRA, which can bring huge relief and change the destiny of especially weaker sections of the society.
Mehbooba also underscored the need to focus on the component of employment entrenched in several social sector schemes so that the rich pool of talented human resource is gainfully employed. She also called for taking party workers on board in making people aware about the pro-people initiatives taken by the government. “The Ministers should meet delegations headed by District Presidents once a month so that their genuine concerns are addressed in a time-bound manner,” she advised.
On putting the state firmly towards the path of development, PDP President cited several instances where the Union government has extended wholehearted support in core sectors linked to connectivity, healthcare, education and rural development. She also referred to her meetings with several Union Ministers, who, she said genuinely want to extend full cooperation to the State government.
Earlier, PDP General Secretary, Nizam-ud-din Bhat, in his brief introductory remarks, spoke on various issues of importance and highlighted other matters which are under the consideration of the party.
The issues raised by the members included strengthening of power distribution system, giving wide publicity to new government schemes and creating job opportunities for unemployed educated youth.
Those who spoke on the occasion included senior party leaders including Rafi Ahmad Mir, Peer Mansoor, Ch. Qamar Din, Saif-ud-din Bhat, Firdous Tak, Zaffar Manhas, Surinder Chaudhary, Shamim Dar, Raja Aijaz Ali, Rafiq Ahmad Khan and Mehboob Iqbal.