People's Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has said that reports of interference by the security establishment in undermining democratic institutions in Jammu and Kashmir point to the fact that democracy was never allowed to flourish in the state.
"Unlike other parts of the country, people of Jammu and Kashmir have been deprived of their democratic rights through such techniques," Sayeed said. "In 1987, assembly elections were rigged and, in 2008, they were rigged technically."
The PDP leader, who is also the former union home minister, was referring to a statement of former army chief Gen VK Singh that the army had paid ministers of the state for particular jobs. He later clarified that money was paid for social work and wasn't a bribery.
Sayeed said that while in other regions any attempt to undermine democratic institutions was considered a grave crime but, in Jammu and Kashmir, sabotage of democratic institutions was going unabated in the name of national interest.
He hailed a decision of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the 68th United Nation General Assembly meeting in New York, US. The former chief minister hoped that the meeting between two leaders would facilitate beginning of a new era of peace, friendship and development in the region.
Addressing a public meeting at Batote, he said the proposed meeting of prime ministers was a welcome step that should be appreciated and endorsed by all political parties.
"Since friendship with the neighbouring country is inevitable for the growth and progress of the entire region, consensus among all political parties can put the desired pace and power into the process of dialogue," he said.
The PDP patron expressed satisfaction that both countries had realised that there was no substitute to the dialogue.