Time ripe to settle issues with Pakistan: Mufti Sayeed
Warns Against Holding Local Bodies Polls On Non-Party Basis
R S Pura, Sep 24: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed on Saturday said that time was ripe for taking bold steps to initiate reconciliation process and resolve all outstanding issues with Pakistan, including Kashmir imbroglio.
The leader, who led a coalition government from 2002 to 2005, also called for national consensus on taking some concrete and effective steps to solve the 63-year long Kashmir issue.
Mufti was addressing an impressive gathering in border town R S Pura, 25 km south-west of Jammu city.
“The situation is conducive to take some bold decisions from the stated positions to take the fragile peace and reconciliation process to its logical end. It is high time when New Delhi could utilize this opportunity at optimum level in resolving all outstanding issues,” Mufti said, adding “there is no substitute to dialogue and New Delhi must take advantage of the ground prepared by PDP for the same”.
Former Chief Minister also stressed on the need of evolving political consensus by involving political opinions of all shades, including BJP on the Kashmir issue and said it could pave way for peace, development and economic growth in the sub-continent.
Mufti said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in favour of resolving all issues with Pakistan and the present situation was conducive to initiate the reconciliation process to restore lasting peace in the region.
“Both countries should not stick to their stated positions and must pursue a realistic and meaningful exercise to resolve all outstanding issues, including Kashmir,” the PDP patron said.
Reaffirming commitment of his party to aggressively pursue the agenda of reconciliation and development in the State, he asserted that his party, with the support of the masses, wouldn’t allow the peace process to be derailed.
“As the peace process was pioneered by PDP, party would take this process to the logical conclusion by establishing lasting peace in this region by channelizing power of the people”, Mufti asserted.
Demanding complete devolution of the powers at the grass root level to the make Panchayats functional, Mufti expressed his anguish over inordinate delay in taking some concerted steps to practically strengthen the Panchayati Raj institution in the State.
Doubting the intensions of the government in giving powers to the Panchayats, Mufti said that it was a historical fact that successive National Conference regimes had undermined democratic institutions like Panchayats and local bodies by not empowering such vital institutions.
Mufti said, “Elections of the Panchayats were also held in 2001 when Farooq Abdullah was Chief Minister but powers were not given to Panchayats at that time also. More than four months have passed after completion of Panchayat elections, still the government has not taken any step to equip the Panchayat members with powers and facilities”, he regretted and demanded constitution of district and block level committees to make the Panchayati Raj institutions functional in real sense. “District and block committees should be duly elected by the Panchayat members”, he advocated.
Taking a dig at ruling National Conference for adopting ‘delay tactics’ in giving powers to the Panchayats, Mufti remarked, “Interestingly, those advocating the demand of greater autonomy are themselves scared of giving powers to the Panchayats”. He further pointed out that ruling party had conducted Panchayat elections on non-party basis just to encourage horse-trading of Panchayat members.
“National Conference newer allowed democratic institutions to flourish in the state”, he said and pointed towards inordinate delay in announcing local bodies elections which were due in January 2010. “Delay in the announcement of local bodies elections reflects dictatorial mindset of the present regime”, he said and informed the gathering that local bodies elections were held in the state during PDP-Congress regime after a gap of more than 25 years.
He warned the government against conducting local bodies elections on the non party basis which is against the spirit of democratic system. “Incase the government take unilateral decision to announce elections on non party basis, PDP would openly field its candidates”, he said.
Lambasting state government for allegedly adopting pick and choose policy in releasing additionalities, the former Chief Minister regretted that present regime had also destabilized the single line administrative system of District Development Board (DDB). “Government is brazenly sanctioning schools and model villages in some selective constituencies with out any criteria while as areas being represented by the opposition are ignored”, he said and added that there was no transparency in the additionalities sanctioned by the Union Government.
PDP patron said due to lack of transparency and accountability, the state has been pushed into a virtual whirlpool of corruption, maladministration and despair. “The inability of the government to make the State Accountability Commission (SAC) and State Information Commission (SIC) functional now looks more ominous than the result of inefficiency and lack of direction of the government”, he said and demanded formation of State Vigilance Commission (SVC).
He further added that the development process was almost paralysed while the major initiatives taken by the previous PDP-Congress coalition government have been almost abandoned. “What to say of starting new projects, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded projects approved by the previous coalition regime are also running behind schedule”, he said, adding, “Prime Minister’s reconstruction programme is also in disarray and various central sponsored projects could not take off due to failure of the state government to give matching money”. He further said that due to poor implementation of the early projects, the ADB has closed its third phase in the state.
Former Minister Rangil Singh, Trilok Singh Bajwa, Thakur Balbir Singh, Ved Mahajan, Shanti Devi, Daman Bhasin, Choudhary Zulfikar MLA, Vijay Dogra, Hussain Ali, Falail Singh, Bharat Bhushan Gupta, Rashid Malik, Choudhary Chuni Lal, Chatter Saini, Rajinder Manhas, Baldev Singh Pappa, Gurmeet Singh, Sartaz Singh Ladda and others also addressed the gathering.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 24 Sep 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 24 Sep 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 25 Sep 2011 00:00:00 IST
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