National Conference president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah said on Sunday that his party’s “outside support” for the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir recently was “aimed to stall the governor’s intention to make structural changes” in working of state institutions and “protect the state’s special status.” He also said it was “highly unbecoming” of the governor’s administration to “fiddle with our institutions.”
Addressing a gathering in Baramulla, Farooq said: “Our aim (behind supporting government formation) was not to enjoy the power but to defend the state laws like Article 35-A in the Supreme Court.”The Peoples Democratic Party on November 21 staked claim to form the state government in alliance with Congress and National Conference.
In her letter to Governor, the PDP president Mehbooba Mufti had said that her party had strength of 29 MLAs and will form the government with the support extended by National Conference and Congress which would take the tally of legislators to 56. However, the Governor Satya Pal Malik soon dissolved the state assembly, inviting sharp criticism from NC, PDP and Congress.
Farooq termed the accusation that NC was power-hungry “wrong” and said: “I have proven my integrity when Jagmohan (a former J&K governor) was enforced on us.”
“My sole aim is to protect the honour of my people and for that I will go to any extent. The NC, PDP and Congress have different political goals, but the initiative to support the formation of government from outside was aimed to protect the state and its laws,” he said. The NC president said his party has no predilection for power and has never compromised on Article 370 and Article 35 A of the Constitution.
“We were obligated to shore up the alliance with the PDP-Congress following relentless and unfailing attacks on our special position by those who are inimical to the special status of our state. The sole purpose of the anticipated alliance was to put up a strong front against the forces who are fiddling with the working autonomy of our institutions, their hierarchy, and their basic structure,” he said.
He said had the NC been after power and position, his father and party founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah would not “have served penitentiary and confinement for more than two decades”.
“Had we in our party shown any inclination for power, I would not have kicked the chair and resigned from the post of chief minister when Jagmohan was deputed as governor to our state. The honour and dignity of my people is dearer to me than anything. However our struggle has been peaceful and non-violent,” he said.
Referring to the alteration in the structure and working of various institutions in the state, Farooq said it was “highly unbecoming” of the governor’s administration to “fiddle with our institutions”.
“At a time when a popularly-elected government is not in place, it is highly unbecoming of the state governor administration to fiddle with our institutions. The recent onslaught of SAC (state administrative council) on the prime financial institution of our state (J&K Bank) is a case in point”.
“I urge the incumbent administration to rollback the SAC decision of converting J&K Bank into a public sector undertaking as it will prove detrimental to working of the bank,” he said.
Reacting to SajadLone’s statement accusing NC of eroding special status of the state, Farooq said: “This accusation is baseless, but I can say about his late father (Abdul Ghani Lone) how he brought gun against the Indian State in Kashmir”.
“When my government was dismissed by the former governor Jagmohan, late Abdul Ghani Lone came to me and said he will go to Pakistan and get arms and ammunition from there, though I pleaded before him to desist from such an approach. However, after his return from Pakistan he repented and said it was his biggest mistake,” Farooq claimed.
Sajad earlier blamed NC, PDP and Congress for “systematically eroding” J&K’s special status.
WELCOMES KARTARPUR CORRIDOR
Farooq urged India and Pakistan to “imitate the spirit of the Kartarpur corridor” in Jammu and Kashmir by opening all routes across the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB).
He said the initiative would not only help boost economic activities on both sides of the border, but also help rekindle the flame of friendship between India and Pakistan.
“The states topography afforded it a geographical dividend that ceased to persist post 1947. I urge the governments of India and Pakistan to open the traditional routes between the two countries,” Farooq said, addressing a gathering at DewanBaghBaramulla in northern Kashmir where he visited the bereaved family of late GhulamMohi-ud-Din Wani.
The much-awaited Kartarpur corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur—the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev—with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Guru Nanak Dev
Farooq, the Member of Parliament from Srinagar LokSabha constituency, said increased people-to-people contact and other confidence-building measures can go a long way in doing away with the “mistrust”.