Srinagar, Feb 8: Terming slapping of Public Safety Act (PSA) on former chief ministers -- Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti -- as ‘most unfortunate’, former finance minister Altaf Bukhari on Saturday demanded a level playing field for all political parties for the revival of a democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference (NC) vice-president Abdullah were on Thursday booked under the PSA - a stringent law that allows detention without trial for up to three months and multiple extensions. Two more leaders- NC General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar and PDP leader Sartaj Madnawere also charged under PSA. The order came on the last day of their six-month detention without charges. Mr. Bukhari observed that putting mainstream leaders and workers behind bars in and outside Jammu and Kashmir does not serve any purpose to the country and rather puts a question mark on the country’s democratic set-up.
'Not only the top leadership of political mainstream is behind bars but over a thousand workers who have sacrificed a lot for strengthening the political process in Jammu and Kashmir are still under detention. Releasing them all at an earliest will not only provide the much needed succor to their families but will indisputably grant a lease of life to the stalled democratic process in J&K,' Mr Bukhari said in a statement issued here on Saturday. He said that the use of PSA against mainstream political leaders is not justifiable and should be revoked without any further delay.
'Booking former chief ministers and other mainstream leaders under PSA dents the efforts for renewing a mired political process. This untenable action is not only discouraging but dispiriting for all assiduous political workers who want a level playing field for all shades of political opinion in Jammu and Kashmir,' he observed. Mr Bukhari opined that the union government must not allow the notion of helplessness to prevail among the people of Jammu and Kashmir and take all measures to restore the lost trust and confidence mandatory for resumption of a meaningful political outreach. “There is no substitute to sincere and meaningful political outreach and that can commence with the release of the three former chief ministers and all other mainstream leaders and activists irrespective of their political affiliations,” he added. (UNI)