Mufti hails Hurriyat, militants, Pakistan for peaceful polls

Mufti hails Hurriyat, militants, Pakistan for peaceful polls

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Sunday credited separatists, militants and Pakistan for providing conducive atmosphere for recently-concluded Assembly polls, drawing sharp reaction from his predecessor Omar Abdullah.

“The Hurriyat and militants allowed conducive atmosphere for the recent Assembly elections. Even from across the border, Pakistan also helped in keeping the atmosphere conducive. The huge voter turnout in the state, especially in Srinagar, was an achievement and this was not possible without favourable atmosphere,” Mufti told a press conference following his oath-taking ceremony.

“You know how small action was needed to disturb the elections. God forbid if they (militants) would have done something, it would not have been possible to have smooth conduct of the elections,” he said.

While advocating the resumption of dialogue with separatists, Mufti said, “They have a role and there is need to engage them in talks as well.” However, Mufti’s statement evoked a sharp reaction from Omar Abdullah, who is also the working president of the National Conference. “‘Pakistan, Huriyaat and Militants ALLOWED peaceful conduct of elections’ says Mufti Sayeed. I guess we should be grateful for their generosity (sic),” Omar posted on his Twitter handle.

Seeking an answer from the PDP’s alliance partner BJP on the issue, he tweeted, “Dear @BJP4India please explain roll of security forces and polling staff considering your CM just said ‘Pakistan allowed elections in J and K’.”

Mufti, who was sworn-in as the Chief Minister earlier in the day in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said, “I forged this alliance out of conviction, not convenience, despite the contradictions.

Prime Minister took note of the innocent deaths in the state and it is my moral obligation to follow up reconciliation and confidence building within and across LoC,” Mufti said in his first press conference after assuming office.

Stressing importance of the alliance, he said history has given a chance to bring closer people from Jammu and Kashmir regions. “We will try to engage all stakeholders for peace in J&K. Let’s take separatists on board too. They also have a view point,” said Mufti. “We want to make this alliance a turning point in history to win the hearts and minds of all people of the state and political alliance is pre-requisite for governance.”

He said they will request government of India to initiate an unconditional dialogue with the people of Jammu and Kashmir to bring peace. “Kashmir has been a problem for every prime minister since 1947 and I told Modi that we should be friends with Pakistan, besides initiating an unconditional dialogue with the people of J&K to resolve this imbroglio,” he said.

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