'Unfazed by criticism', Shah Faesal launches political party

Former Indian administrative service officer Shah Faesal Sunday launched his political party and vowed to work for the “peaceful” resolution of the Kashmir issue. Faesal, the 2010 IAS topper, quit the elite service in January this year against “unabated” civilian killings in Kashmir and “lack of any outreach from New Delhi”. Faesal had organised a rally, which was mainly attended by youth from various parts of Jammu and Kashmir, in Srinagar on Sunday to launch his party—‘J&K Peoples’ Movement’—ahead of the LokSabha and assembly elections in J&K.

Outlining the “agenda” and “priorities” of his party, Faesal said they would strive for a resolution of the Kashmir issue “as per the aspirations of the people”.

Addressing the participants, Faesal said: “I want to tell you that the solution to the Kashmir problem will come from India and Pakistan. Don’t expect overnight miracles from us. But we can become a voice to bridge the gap between the two countries as well as between New Delhi and Srinagar,” he said.

Faesal, who has been a vocal critic of the government on social media even before quitting the IAS, said his intention is to “give new politics” to J&K.

“It is not a region or religion-specific. People from Jammu, Ladakh, Rajouri, Poonch and Doda are my brothers,” he said.

He said his party would be youth-oriented.

“The youth here (in J&K) are angry. It is the youth who are rendering sacrifices. Pellets and bullets hit youth, they get killed. We want to save our youth who are sacrificing their lives,” he said.

He said the “anger” and “outrage” of the people against his joining any existing party “compelled me to float a new party”.

“That anger and outrage shown by the people, especially the youth, opened my eyes. I am thankful for those abuses because they compelled me to launch a new party,” he said.

“The youth cautioned me against joining these parties saying their hands are soaked in the blood of youth and have turned recruitment agencies as their personal properties,” Faesal said.

Without naming any party, Faesal said those who were offering him to join their parties are now raising fingers on him.

“The same people who invited me to join their parties are now spreading canards that this (our party) is a conspiracy of the BJP, RSS and the government of India,” he said, adding that he is “unfazed by the criticism”.

“I am ready to face the abuses and criticism from political rivals. I don’t see them as rivals,” he said.

Talking about his plunge into mainstream politics, Faesal said after spending 10 years in the “system”, he realised that his “diagnosis” was wrong.

“When I joined the IAS, my thinking was that roads and schools will bring peace in the state. After 10 years, I realised that until the youth here (in J&K) are disillusioned, there will be bloodshed and nothing can be achieved by way of development,” he said.

Faesal also announced his team on the occasion, which, among others, includes former JNUSU leader Shehla Rashid Shora, Mumbai-based Kashmiri businessman FerozPirzada, noted car dealer Baldev Singh, DrMusatafaHafiz  (hafiz-e-Quran and  assistant professor) and lawyers UzairRounga and Iqbal Tahir.