STATE TIMES NEWS
SRINAGAR: Apni Party President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Tuesday described truthful politics, transparency and accountability as the cardinal principles that steer the functioning of his Party across Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing the Party’s first one-day convention held at Sher-e-Kashmir Park in Srinagar, Bukhari observed that the Srinagar city was always neglected by the successive governments particularly those who have ruled J&K for decades.
He was flanked by Party’s senior vice president Ghulam Hassan Mir, vice president Zaffar Iqbal Manhas, general secretary Rafi Ahmad Mir, party senior leader Mohammad Dilawar Mir, Provincial President Mohammad Ashraf Mir, state secretary and district president Budgam Muntazir Mohi-u-Din, media advisor Farooq Andrabi, spokesman Javid Hassan Beig, provincial secretary Abdul Rashid Haroon, provincial vice president Jagmohan Singh Raina, district president Srinagar Noor Mohammad Sheikh, party leader and Mayor SMC Junaid Mattu.
“Today’s convention reflects this decades’ old official apathy towards Srinagar city. Most of the stakeholders who are heer in their individual capacities but representing various sections of the society right from Traders Federation, Shikara Walas Association, Tour Travel Operators Association, Hoteliers Association, Houseboat Owners Association, Street Vendors Associations, Transporters Associations, Artisans and the Stone Quarry Unit Holders’ associations who belong to this historic city are craving for official attention,” Bukhari remarked.
He said the presence of these representatives’ of trade and commerce bodies on a volunteer basis means that they repose their trust and confidence in the developmental agenda proposed by the Apni Party.
“I express gratitude to all of you for your support and affection and pledge to raise your genuine concerns at all forums available to our party,” Bukhari pledged.
He said that Srinagar city faces extreme economic disparity as compared to cities in the rest of the country.
“Besides, lagging behind in other developmental parameters, Srinagar city is facing extreme unemployment. Our small and big traders, hoteliers, houseboat owners, shopkeepers, artisans, Shikarawalas, street vendors and tour and travel operators are facing the brunt of official apathy which needs to be looked into,” Bukhari added.
The Apni Party President averred that the Srinagar city should not only become a Smart City but an attractive destination which motivates people for huge investments.
“People in J&K particularly the residents of Srinagar city have faced the worst during last 70 years at the hands of existing political parties who never tried to speak truth and refrain from political gimmickry,” Bukhari said, adding that the Apni Party which was formed some nine months ago is now struggling against certain disbelief among the people who were always hoodwinked by using misleading slogans.
Explaining the party’s political agenda that besides other issues encompasses the demand for restoration of Statehood; Bukhari observed that the people of Jammu and Kashmir were completely disempowered when their State was converted into a union territory.
“This was a black day for all of us. So the Apni Party stands committed to strive for empowerment of people through restoration of Statehood,” he remarked.
Bukhari said that it was his Party’s intervention that got the domicile law on jobs modified resulting into protection of all the categories of government jobs for the youth of J&K. “Similarly, we have already expressed our reservations with regard to the domicile law on land. We will not sit as mute spectators like our political opponents and we will pursue complete protection of land rights for the domiciles of J&K,” he added.
The AP President remarked that the existing political parties in J&K have always hoodwinked the people by showing them false dreams for their electoral gains. “While we blame each other; we cannot skip and absolve the responsibility of our local political parties who presume to have inherited the J&K electorate from one generation to another.”
He said that the political parties of J&K who used to coin and sell dreams like Autonomy, Self Rule, Dual Currency, Special Economic Zones, Joint Legislative Assembly and Achievable Nationhood have now forged an alliance to make themselves relevant among people.
“Aren’t these political parties who claimed to stop BJP from entering J&K and later joined hands with it? Have the political leaders who called on the Prime Minister and Home Minister before abrogation of Article 370 and 35A revealed what transpired during their meeting,” Bukhari asked.
With regard to restoration of Article 370 and 35-A, Bukhari said that his Party has reiterated its stand time and again in public that it is not averse to this demand but it will never lie or make false promises to the people of J&K on the mode of achieving these goals.
Addressing the convention, senior vice president of Apni Party Ghulam Hassan Mir said that Apni Party believes in inclusive politics and it will surely represent the aspirations of all stakeholders and sections of the society at all forums available to it.
“We know that people in Srinagar have witnessed extreme neglect despite giving full mandate to a political party for decades. We understand the pain and problems faced by people in Srinagar city as we understand the difficulties faced by the rural areas. Our promise is to work tirelessly for an equitable development of Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, Provincial President of the party said that Srinagar city direly needs a proper housing policy should be in sync with the requirements of its swelling population, preservation of ecology and environment and restoration of pristine glory of the city.
He also expressed dismay over the treatment meted out by the stone quarry holders of Srinagar city and demanded immediate intervention of the government of India for protection of their minor mineral rights.
The convention was addressed by party district president Noor Mohammad Sheikh who explained the sufferings of people living across nook and corner of the Srinagar city. He raised the demands of transporters especially taxi and auto rickshaw owners, houseboat owners, pending rehabilitation of Dal, River Jhelum and Veer Chattabal dwellers, loan waiver for artisans and other traders who deal with handicrafts sector and street vendors.
The convention was also addressed by party leaders Jagmohan Singh Raina, Abdul Rashid Haroon and City Mayor Junaid Azim Mattu. In His address, Mattu said that though the major areas of the Srinagar city have been already covered under different drainage/sewerage schemes but there are still vast left over areas in the city which are in dire need of basic amenities and need to be given proper attention. The proceedings of the convention were conducted by party’s state secretary and district president Budgam Muntazir mohi-u-Din.