National Conference on Friday said PDP leader and Education Minister Naeem Akhtar's statement accusing the opposition of raking up the West Pakistan Refugees issue was "ridiculous" and clearly implied that the State Government doesn't apply its mind to ascertain facts before issuing such "baseless statements" that tried to deflect responsibility from the alliance's nefarious designs.
In a statement, NC State Spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu said Naeem Akhtar would be well served to read the statement of his alliance partner, BJP State President Sat Sharma where he had clearly stated that the decision to issue 'domicile certificates' to West Pakistan Refugees was only the "first step" towards granting them full citizenship and property rights.
"Rather than misdirecting their frustration after being exposed, PDP should try to look for some remnant of shame within its conscience by realizing that it was its own alliance partner that was using the West Pakistan Refugees's Issue as a covert opportunity to dilute and circumvent the State Subject Laws of Jammu and Kashmir. Mr. Sat Sharma's comments are self-explanatory. Either Mr. Naeem Akhtar was not able to comprehend what Mr. Sat Sharma said or he doesn't want to acknowledge that his party has sold its soul to the BJP to remain in power. The dilution of J&K's State Subject Law is a long-cherished desire of the BJP and it is amply clear that PDP has agreed to help BJP in this goal", the NC Spokesperson said.
Mattu said neither PDP nor BJP was a well-wisher of the West Pakistan Refugees and wanted to exploit their issue to further their own political agenda.
"National Conference has always taken a humane view of the issue and has never politicized it. While we have always empathized and will continue to empathize with the refugees in the pursuit of their day-too-day lives, granting them State Subject rights is tantamount to diluting the law and leaving it meaningless. That is something we will not allow at any cost and neither PDP nor BJP should have any doubts about that," he said.
"The fiasco over the 'domicile certificate' stunt of the Government has yet again proven how the PDP-BJP Government doesn't apply its mind before dealing with issues that have a serious bearing on stability and peace in the State. One fine day the BJP announces that granting 'domicile certificate' is an achievement and a proof of their commitment to grant complete citizenship rights as State Subjects to the West Pakistan Refugees. The next day Naeem Akhtar comes out blaming the opposition for the statement of his own alliance partner. The Government has been turned into an elaborate joke and these incidents have discredited the writ and credibility of the PDP-BJP Government in the State", the NC Spokesperson added.
He said the PDP-BJP Government was resorting to all possible means to dilute Article 370 and circumvent the State Subject Law and all such misadventures would be met with stiff resistance by the National Conference and the people of the State.