He was a towering politician who touched the heights of politics, showed wisdom and perseverance and dominated the political landscape in country and a strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir for over sixty years. We are about to mark his first death anniversary. The political stalwart and the founder of Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who changed the political discourse in state was dignified politician whom we will remember for so long.
In his six decades long political career Mufti went through innumerable ups and downs but never gave up. He instead fought his way amid all the difficult conditions. Until his last breath, he showed his commitment towards his people. Even at the death bed he would inquire about the public oriented issues and insist for the speedy redress.
Mufti entrusted his daughter Mehbooba Mufti on the death bed to ensure the smooth functioning of system in his absence who otherwise was nursing her father at the hospital. He sought reports about the on-going projects while the principal Secretary was directed to update the implementation of decisions and guidelines.An astute administrator, Mufti during his regime from 2002-2005 proved his farsightedness and set the precedence of accountable governance in Jammu and Kashmir.
In the freezing cold of Chaillia Kalan few days before his death, Mufti without caring for his health and age took stock of all developmental projects across Srinagar city. To him Srinagar city was the heart of the state. He not only laid foundation of many projects, but also addressed his last public convention in the city.
At the time when we are mourning his departure and remembering him on his first death anniversary, let's resolve to carry on his mission and commitment for the betterment of people and fulfil his dream of making Kashmir the real paradise on earth.
His commitment was to make Kashmir as the nucleus of peace. He stressed on dialogue and reconciliation between India and Pakistan as the only means to achieve peace in the entire South Asia region.
The ceasefire on the borders, restoration of dialogue with separatists, Pakistan and Confidence Building Measures goes to his credit. In 2002, when the Mufti was in power, he ensures the protection of human rights with the abolition of POTA law. He made people realize the security for their life and loved ones by making security forces accountable and curbs the crackdown and search operations.
You may differ with Mufti's political views, but the circumstances in which he made a distinct political identity, he always deserved a tribute. He not only advocated for peace, strengthened the democratic institutions, but also provided impactful political alternative to his people in the form of PDP. To him democracy was the battle of ideologies and was always concerned about concerns of political opponents.
My first meeting with the late Mufti was in 2011. I was deputed to report his public address at Rafiabad, Baramulla, where he had talked about the freedom pre 1947. I was curious to know his statement; hence I rang on his official telephone for an appointment. After sometime I got the confirmation of appointment with the former chief minister, Mufti for the next day.
On the day of meeting, Mufti greeted me with a generous smile. While talking on some issues he suggested me to join politics and said that this is time for youth to join politics. Inspired by him, I formally joined PDP in 2014. Few days later I again went to meet Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. He was sitting in the same room and greeted me with the same smile. Mufti begins his conversation regarding the parliament elections and public rallies in Kupwara. I was surprised that he had so much information about politically sensitive areas in Kupwara.
When I held a public meeting in my area the late Mufti said, Aawoora (Where I Live) area of Kupwara is politically important. Mufti asked me to set the stage there. He suggested me to pursue full time politics, and predicted my bright future. The words of heavenly soul gave me the courage to move forward in difficult times.
He is the one whom I will never forget for the role he had in my life
(Tahir Syeed is Media Analyst J&K Government in Chief Minister's office. Ideas expressed are personal )