“Give us a Chance”

We made huge blunder by taking Article 370 & 35(A) to the Supreme Court and in other words helped those who were always against our special status. Unfortunately local mainstream political parties hoodwinked people with hollow slogans like plebiscite front, autonomy, self rule and others but nothing was given at the end. People of J&K gave multiple chances to regional political parties who always hurt their sentiments instead of providing relief to them. Apni Party can go with post-poll alliance with anyone even with BJP, but not with PDP which lacks competency to deliver things on ground, says former minister and Apni Party president Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari in an exclusive interview with Editor The Kashmir Magazine, Mohammad Aslam Bhat. Here are the excerpts:

Kashmir Magazine

Supreme Court’s verdict on Article 370 & 35(A):

The decision was unfortunate and against the expectations of people of Jammu & Kashmir. We believe Supreme Court is a temple of justice, so we have to go with the decision it pronounced. We have to accept it. Article 370 and 35(A) were basically a political issue for us, even when these laws were included in the Constitution the then leadership took political circumstances under consideration. Late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru after deliberations made a middle way to ensure J&K’s merger with the Union of India. So with this passage of time this should have been resolved through politically. We willingly or unwillingly made a huge blunder to take Article 370 to the Supreme Court and helped those who were chasing it to scrap. If we had political roadmap on it, we would have done better but we lacked on this front and so lost the case. Today we should know that the decision taken on August 05, 2019 by New Delhi was stamped by the Supreme Court, so there is no chance of moving the clock back. Even I don’t agree with Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement that the provision was temporary, but after the verdict given by Supreme Court I fell dumb.
Article 370, and regional political parties:
The regional mainstream political parties have befooled us enough on Article 370. They were playing political cards and making people realize they will give their blood and sweet in its protection. Why didn’t they make it permanent in last seventy-years? Many governments come and go and many politicians as well, but Article 370 remained unresolved (temporary) till its last breath. Why these politicians didn’t ensure it during 1987 accord? Why it was not done in 2014 when they form coalition with BJP, who was against this provision since its beginning. Why they left it unattended in these times? If National Conference (NC) is responsible for weakening Article 370, similarly People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is equally responsible for their wrongdoings it committed with the special status in their times. They all played emotional politics on it and made people fool enough.
Apni Party’s contribution:

When we launched J&K Apni Party we reached to New Delhi and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. We put forward people’s concerns in the meeting and sought protection for land and job to local domiciles. As people know restoration of Statehood, protection of land and job to local youth are our core agenda. I assure my people that Apni Parti will not let your morale down. Even in the initial stint our party ensured land and job reservation. So far Apni Party has achieved two main things. People of J&K should extend their support to us in upcoming elections so that we will bring back further snatched rights. Local political parties did enough blackmail of our people in past seventy-years and didn’t ensure a single right for them. Although there is a provision that after fifteen-years any outsider can get domicile of J&K for land and jobs, but I assure you once we come to power we will stretch this time period from 15 to 30 years. Apni Part will continue its struggle for full-fledged statehood to Jammu and Kashmir.
J&K security situation:

The situation is widely improved and I want to give its credit to people. Political leaders made people fool in last seventy-years for their political interests. Credit also goes to those who didn’t fire bullets and pellets. Unlike 2016, the security situation in J&K is completely different today. In 2016 whosoever killed in mass agitation I consider their killings as murder. Being an MLA in the then government, but I vociferously protested against then. Days before PDP fell into the lap of BJP for coalition, I tried utmost to convince PDP leadership to take people-centric decision. Even I categorically opposed to go with BJP. Late Mufti Saheb and I didn’t talk for a month due to difference on government formation. Later on when her daughter and former chief minister was asked who was against the coalition, she pointed out towards me. So keeping my stand into account I always distanced myself from the killings happened in 2016. I consider them as murder. I am being recognized for my works I did in my tenure as Minister for Roads and Buildings. I tried my best to resolve people’s issue then. I’m a man of development. I am known for creating something. I am always appealing to people to forget the past and move toward a bright future ahead. We need to bring industries here to provide employment to youth. Have you ever heard from anyone that I am not accessible? My telephone number is not secret. I am a common man. I remain available round the clock for my people. You can fetch feedback from my people. Apni Party didn’t make estate for our families, relatives and workers. I have a vision of prosperity of people of Jammu & Kashmir. Once Apni Party will voted to power, it will enhance health cover support from five-lac to ten-lac. I appeal my people to forget ABCD, as I have full faith on my stand. I won’t allow my consciousness to go for sell out. Apni Party is a syndicate of genuine people. We even didn’t pay heed to threats. We met Prime Minister and Home Minister in broad day light for our people.
Those wanted inner party democracy were disallowed in PDP. This party was broken by its own people. Why there is no one being expelled today? Everyone knows where from these people belong? What they are doing in dark. Whatever I am doing in broad day light, they are doing the same in dead of the night.
Future of J&K:

We should not recollect what leaders did in past? There is a time to move ahead. I always say move towards future. I appeal to my people to give your vote to that party which has a potential to deliver. I have good relations with New Delhi. I want to clear it that if you have not good relations with New Delhi, you cannot deliver well in J&K. Let NC and PDP to deny they will never be a part of BJP in future if they will have no majority. We have seen in 2014 what PDP did? They first sought votes from people for pushing BJP outside J&K but later on formed government with the same. Whenever elections held in J&K, it was New Delhi who formed government here. Every time New Delhi ruled here in one face or another. I hope this methodology will understand my people especially youth who need to give deaf ear to baseless allegations of opponents. I appeal to new generation to come forward and support Altaf Bukhari’s Apni Party for a bright and prosperous future of Jammu & Kashmir. I assure you that we will make such a relation with New Delhi that they will be compelled to spend double on developmental projects. I want to make Jammu & Kashmir a Switzerland of Asia, as we have enough resources available here.
I hope people of J&K has come to know that Altaf Bukhari is a truthful man and works for the betterment and welfare of the people. I even said this years before without Supreme Court no one can bring back Article 370, but unfortunately people were exploited and made fool by political leaders.
Poonch incident:

It was unfortunate incident but political leaders are doing politics on it. They leave no stone unturned to play with emotions of victims, which is unfortunate. I was the first one who condemned civilian killings in Poonch. We even protested and sought instant action against the culprits involved in the act. However others think their party exists only if they reach to the place of occurrence themselves. No doubt Poonch incident brought a bad name to New Delhi as they were in an endeavor to ensure peace and normalcy in last four years in J&K. Today political parties and their leaders have nothing left to sell in public. They look for such type of opportunities to shine their political games.
BJP’s claim of integration:

If we talk of last four years, minds of Kashmiri people have widely been changed and integrated as well. We are citizens of India and want every constitutional right people of other States and UTs enjoy.
Minorities in India:

India is the third largest Muslim country in the world and I want to keep my word on record that no government in the country can ignore 22 Crore Muslims.
Apni Party’s agenda:

Development, employment and corruption-free administration are our agenda. I will work on it in my life ahead. My platform is open for all those who believe J&K’s future is destined with India, and who is not involved in terrorism, drugs and have faith on India’s integrity and sovereignty.

It was an electoral deceit. The constituents of the alliance tried to hide their political failure behind the forum. I will try my best to reach out to those who believe in India’s integrity and sovereignty, and want to work together for making J&K a peaceful abode.
Post poll alliance:

Apni Party will go for coalition with all those who are close to our ideology. We will give priority to get least damaged and implement maximum agenda. It can be anyone, even BJP also but not PDP. My differences with PDP still exist. Their leadership has proven incompetent and have failed to deliver on ground. I am basically a businessman. My personal relations with everyone are good. I am taking lead in meeting people and offer salutations.
Your message:

I appeal to my people you have given multiple chances to these traditional political parties who always played with our aspirations and delivered nothing. Give Apni Party a chance. We will bring a change on ground. We will change your destiny.