J-K alliance hurt by war-like zone remark, its failure will hit the country: PDP leader Nayeem Akhtar

Without naming Defence Minister Arun Jaitley who last month said “when you are in a war-like zone, we should allow our Army officers to take a decision”, Akhtar said: “There is no war-like situation in Kashmir."

Written by Muzamil Jaleel | Srinagar | Updated: June 7, 2017 9:43 am
Senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar after the legislative party meeting at Mufti residence in Srinagar on Monday. Express Photo by Shuaib Masoodi.

PDP leader and senior J&K minister Nayeem Akhtar has said that the PDP-BJP coalition government’s credibility has seriously suffered when “someone holding an important position” calls Kashmir a “war-like zone”. Calling the alliance “the last possible credible democratic experiment”, he says its failure may “consume” the PDP but it will be “a huge setback to the country”. In an interview to The Indian Express, Akhtar, a trusted aide of the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who currently holds the public works portfolio in the coalition government and is the state government’s official spokesperson, said “talks with Hurriyat” and New Delhi’s “measures to improve Indo-Pak relations” are essential component of the agenda of alliance between the two parties and “if it isn’t implemented, many generations will mourn” the chance missed.

Without naming Defence Minister Arun Jaitley who last month said “when you are in a war-like zone, we should allow our Army officers to take a decision”, Akhtar said: “There is no war-like situation in Kashmir. When someone holding an important position in the government says it is a war zone, what message are we sending? After two years in the government, we are saying it is a war zone, what is our legitimacy.’ “….Credibility of our government has suffered seriously because of such statements but it isn’t our loss only, it is not the loss of our party only, it isn’t the loss of J&K state only, it is the loss of the country as well.”

He said the PDP’s alliance with BJP “is the last possible credible democratic experiment for many many years”. “If it fails, nothing else is likely to succeed in the present scenario. And if it collapses, it would not be a problem only for PDP or Kashmir, its failure is going to be a huge setback for the country in finding a solution to its most intractable challenge. We may well get consumed in this but that might be a marginal cost only. We tried to create a middle space — the space is gone but the argument hasn’t gone,’’ he said.

“I am an Indian but people in Kashmir don’t feel that way. And we aren’t responsible for this sentiment. We inherited it. It began when Nehru jailed Sheikh Abdullah (in 1953). That has been a legacy for all Prime Ministers.” Akhtar said the Kashmir “problem” could be resolved “only by acknowledging the idea of azadi and engaging in best democratic traditions with its proponents and convince them of a better idea that in our belief is the idea of India”. “Our agenda for alliance says everything — we haven’t shied away from anything. It doesn’t merely talk about talks with separatists, it is specific and names Hurriyat. It isn’t vague. It clearly asks for measures to improve relations between New Delhi and Islamabad. It has dealt with every contentious issue and projected a pragmatic view endorsed by both PDP and BJP. This is all out in open and it is an agreement between the coalition partners,’’ he said.

Akhtar said that despite “harsh resistance”, the PDP had brought Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the same venue in Srinagar in 2015 where Atal Bihari Vajpayee had addressed people in 2003 and “created ripples across the sub-continent”. “The encore was the same but we didn’t see the results,’’ he said. Without naming the Army chief, Akhtar said: “The Army on the ground (in Kashmir) today is much more disciplined than the way its top brass is making it look like through its observations. It is sad.” He said “there is no viable alternative to talks and reconciliation… India can become great not by using coercive measures in Kashmir to suppress people but by understanding from history that it hasn’t ever worked.’’ Responding to a query on issues that can break the PDP’s coalition with the BJP, Akhtar said: “Our red line is known. For us, Article 370 and the special status (of J&K) that includes the State subject law is inviolable.”

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  1. P
    Pranab
    Jun 7, 2017 at 1:47 pm
    Mr.Nayeem Akhtar, You deserve to face the music that you have created yourself for political gains.
    Reply
    1. Z
      zeed
      Jun 7, 2017 at 12:02 pm
      "Exactly. " "Well said. " 'indian' man talking to 'indian' man. PATHETIc waste of brains reminds one of the six wise men of Hindustan
      Reply
      1. A
        Aster
        Jun 7, 2017 at 10:38 am
        Only solution to Kashmir is war with stan and put all these crechers at border so that they face stan bullets. Whether Hurriyat or other parties they are more or less same agenda take benefits from India and vomit. Why security cover is not removed from Hurriyat and other leaders ? for which we Taxpayers are paying.
        Reply
        1. B
          Balasubramanya
          Jun 7, 2017 at 10:25 am
          All J&K problems are hovering around Islamic agenda in so called secular country India. The fun is nobody wants to call a spade a spade, therefore, problems can't be solved for next 100 years unless the government target the route cause.
          Reply
          1. D
            DHOBI KA
            Jun 7, 2017 at 4:19 pm
            well said
            Reply
          2. I
            indian man
            Jun 7, 2017 at 9:34 am
            Kashmir is the example of what could happen if Muslims are allowed to gain majority. They start demanding seperate land.
            Reply
            1. I
              Indian First
              Jun 7, 2017 at 9:49 am
              Well said
              Reply
              1. G
                George Cruz
                Jun 7, 2017 at 10:10 am
                Exactly. They demand land to establish an Islamic Caliphate with millions of Mosques. Madrassas, hundreds of Mullahs who can preach Islamic ideologies of Jihad/Sharia, hatred towards other religions, and radicalize them to commit terror/kil to attain/protect their caliphate. Indian citizens haven't forgotten the Islamic Caliphate called Pak was carved out of greater India because they hated Hindus/India, and the terror/kil inflicted on the LOC and in the J&K since 1947. The Indian citizens would never allow or accept another Islamic Caliphate in Kashmir.
                Reply
                1. B
                  Balasubramanya
                  Jun 7, 2017 at 10:29 am
                  Rightly said, however, the problem is our intellectuals and shameless opposition parties and their vote Bank politics which ruined India completely.
                  Reply
                2. S
                  SP
                  Jun 7, 2017 at 9:07 am
                  Compared to Lybia, Syria, Itraq and even many places in India where so many people commit suicide Kashmiris are much better off. So they hype up their problem. Real victims are Kashmiri Pandits and India which faces terror atatcks from stan. It is better to convert Kahsmir valley into Union Territoty, whoever does not thnk he is not Indian can go to Iran, Uzbekistan or whichever nationality they believe to be.
                  Reply
                  1. S
                    SP
                    Jun 7, 2017 at 9:04 am
                    Sheikh Abdulla was a crook. You can see how he managed the wordings of article 370 which bene ed only Abdullas as power brokers, it did not help anybody else. It caused enormous confusion. There can not be special status just because Muslims are in majority and in rest of India Muslims are special because they are the biggest minority. Hindus suffer either way.
                    Reply
                    1. S
                      SP
                      Jun 7, 2017 at 9:01 am
                      If PDP is truthful they should have exiled separatists by now in their own interest. How can there be two sources of power in a democracy? How long can you play good cop and bad cop the way stani Government and Army does. People know the truth now.
                      Reply
                      1. I
                        Indian First
                        Jun 7, 2017 at 9:50 am
                        Good comment
                        Reply
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