Altaf Bukhari floats Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party; outfit aims to restore statehood, ensure safe return of Kashmiri Pandits

With the core agenda of restoring Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood, former state finance minister Altaf Bukhari on Sunday announced the formation of a new political outfit Jammu Kashmir Apni Party

FP Staff March 08, 2020 16:25:56 IST
Altaf Bukhari floats Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party; outfit aims to restore statehood, ensure safe return of Kashmiri Pandits
  • Former Jammu and Kashmir finance minister Altaf Bukhari on Sunday announced the formation of a new political outfit Jammu Kashmir Apni Party

  • Bukhari said that the aim is to relieve people of the challenges they have faced since 5 August last year, when Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was revoked

  • Bukhari was joined by many former legislators and ministers, including PDP founding member Ghulam Hassan Mir and former minister and PDP general secretary Dilawar Mir

Former Jammu and Kashmir finance minister Altaf Bukhari on Sunday announced the formation of a new political outfit, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (J-KAP). The party's core agenda is restoring statehood for the region.

While announcing the party’s formation, Bukhari took a swipe at the National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party and said that his party was different as it was not floated by families. The erstwhile lawmaker from Amirakadal said that the party would also look into the issue of reinstating residents' domicile rights on land and jobs.

Altaf Bukhari floats Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party outfit aims to restore statehood ensure safe return of Kashmiri Pandits

President of newly launched Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party Altaf Bukhari addresses a press conference with other party members. PTI

Touting the party as an outfit "of the commoners, by the commoners and for the commoners", Bukhari said, “We have resolved to create a viable, political platform that functions in accordance with the wishes of people and where the people are the real stakeholders of the political process.” Among the promises is also the dignified return of Kashmiri Pandits to the union territory.

He said that the aim is to relieve people of the challenges they have faced since 5 August last year, when Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was revoked. "After 5 August, a lot has changed. People are in despair, tourism is reduced to zero and local industries have closed down. In that view, challenges are very huge. It is an endeavour to see how we can restore the semblance of these things," he added.

Bukhari also stressed on the need for confidence-building measures among people. "People here are feeling the absence of credible voices, who can take up their issues and get them sorted," he said.

At the press conference, Bukhari was joined by many former legislators and ministers, including PDP founding member Ghulam Hassan Mir, former minister and PDP general secretary Dilawar Mir and former ministers Chowdhary Zulfiqar Ahmad, Mohammad Ahsraf Mir, Abdul Majeed Paddar, Aijaz Ahmad Khan and Usman Majeed besides former chief secretary and ex-NC MLC Vijay Bakaya. In all, 31 political leaders, from various parties, including PDP and NC, are expected to join J-KAP, sources told ANI.

The new party will have representatives in Gurez, Kokennag, Karnah, Jammu, Anantnag, Srinagar, Reasi, Pulwama, Budgam, Kulgam, Kishtwar, Baramulla, Rafiabad, Rajouri, Tanmarg, Bandipora and Vijaypora, The Indian Express reported.

Hours before the launch of his new political outfit, Bukhari was unanimously elected as the president of the outfit.

The formation of the outfit comes seven months after Jammu and Kashmir's special status was revoked and prominent leaders, including former chief minister Omar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, were placed under detention.

Bukhari had held the education and finance portfolios in the erstwhile state’s PDP-BJP coalition government. Bukhari was expelled from the PDP in January 2019 following allegations that he “inspired and led dissent in the party”. He had called for release of all political leaders and said they should apprise the people of the changed realities. "While the parties are focused on the release of their leaders, many of their workers are unable to get even two square meals a day. My effort will be to contribute in making their life better," Bukhari told PTI.

With inputs from agencies

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