India-Pakistan peace process must continue: Sayeed
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must visit Pakistan on the invitation of President Asif Ali Zardari to take the peace process forward, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed said Monday.
Sayeed, who is the patron of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was addressing the party's foundation day rally of over 15,000 people in Srinagar.
"We should not sit on prestige. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must accept Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's invitation and visit Pakistan. Nobody expects any magic results, but peace process must be continued in a sustained manner for its ultimate success," he said.
Sayeed said the invitation reflected the aspirations of the people of Pakistan to have peaceful neighbourly relations with India.
"This time the good thing is that the Pakistan Army, which was usually seen as a villain to the peace process, is also on board," he said.
On the home front, he cautioned the political establishment in New Delhi against trying to groom handpicked politicians in the states.
"They do not want any Akhilesh Yadavs, Jayalalithaas, and Mamata Banerjees. They believe in grooming handpicked politicians who dance to the centre's tune," he said.
Sayeed said the establishment in New Delhi never trusted Kashmiris. "They repeated the mistakes and follies of 1987 through tactical rigging of 2008 elections in Jammu and Kashmir and the results are there for everybody to see," he alleged.
"The state government (led by the National Conference) has not only completely failed on all fronts but it has lost its credibility among the people," he said.
The PDP leader said partial revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) has become a political slogan for the ruling party in the state.
"What did the chief minister (Omar Abdullah) do to fix responsibilities on his own police force for killing innocent civilians?" he asked.
He said when the shrine of Peer Dastgeer Sahib was destroyed in a fire incident in Srinagar last month, the police were let loose on the protesting youths, forcing them to go underground for fear of intimidation and arrest.
The PDP passed a resolution on its foundation day, seeking removal of the trust deficit between New Delhi and the state.
The resolution demands transfer of the complete control of all electric power generation projects in the state from the National Hydro Power Corporation, making the Line of Control (LoC) between the two parts of divided Kashmir irrelevant, and withdrawal of Article 356 of the Indian Constitution from the state, which empowers the union government to dismiss any state government.
Sayeed also demanded that the Jammu and Kashmir governor must be an elected head instead of being nominated by the centre, complete revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from the state, and 90 percent representation to locals in Indian administrative and police services and other central services in quotas allotted to Jammu and Kashmir.