Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Muahmmad Sayeed on Friday came out in support of revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act but accused Omar Abdullah of lowering the prestige, position and status of chief minister by “mishandling sensitive and important issue”.
Referring to the AFSPA, Mufti said, “These stringent and exceptional measures were unsustainable in view of the vastly changed internal scenario and visible signs of improvement in relation between India and Pakistan.
Addressing party workers, Mufti said Jammu and Kashmir cannot be denied total democratic rights on the pretext of security.
“The people of this state have proved that they are the best guarantors of peace and all emergency measures will have to go sooner than later,” he said.
Saying the AFSPA has outlived its utility, Mufti pointed out that in 2007 as part of the larger peace process, set in motion in 2003, he had taken the issue with PM.
“The committee’s were set up at the highest level to review it (AFSPA),” he said adding “unfortunately the state government failed to follow up on the initiative”.
Accusing CM Omar Abdullah of making cosmetic noises to deflect attention from the huge governance deficit, Mufti said Abdullah had lowered the prestige, position and status of the CM by his hamhanded handling of a sensitive and important issue.
“Abdullah has surrendered the constitutional powers of the state government in the process and has engaged himself in a futile confrontation, which is increasingly looking like shadow boxing in order to divert attention from recent exposures of the corruption in the ruling family and the inefficient governance record of the coalition,” alleged Mufti.
He said instead of taking the state legislature into confidence on this issue, the CM has turned it into a slanging match between him and the armed forces.
“When it came to implementing or revoking laws, the PDP had refused in 2002 to enforce POTA even though the preceding Farooq Abdullah govt was the first to apply it anywhere in the country,” he said.
Mufti said Abdullah’s government had made its intentions clear when it blocked a PDP resolution on revocation the AFSPA in the state Assembly.
“The noises made about removal of AFSPA from places like Srinagar, Jammu & Samba made hardly any sense as there was need for removing these laws from those places where atrocities and fake encounters were reported,” he said.
Mufti said the PDP wants the law completely revoked in line with the democratic character of our country and the changing strategic situation in the region.
Mufti said armed forces have completed their job in very trying circumstances and helped in creating a situation conducive for political activity and democratic functioning.
“The space reclaimed by the people of the state with the assistance of the government forces has now to be made exclusively available to democratic institutions and civil society as in other parts of the country. The forces will have to be relieved of their duties in civilian space and the democratic institutions fully revived in the state,” he said.