Why Centre is presenting Pakistan as lion before us: Apni Party chief Bukhari

JAMMU: Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari on Sunday rejected the Army’s statement that Pakistan does not want a stable government in Jammu and Kashmir, saying why the Centre is presenting the neighbouring country which is in deep crisis as a “lion before us”.

Bukhari, a former minister, asked how can a neighbouring country object to the formation of government in J&K as the decision has to be taken by the election commission or Central government.

The Army on Saturday said Pakistan neither wants peace nor a stable government in Jammu and Kashmir, even more since the abolition of Article 370 in 2019.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a public rally at Mandi in the border district of Poonch, Bukhari in his reaction to the Army’s statement said he felt sad and surprised as Pakistan is in deep crisis and is hardly alive.

“Why are you presenting it (Pakistan) as a lion before us? We are not ready to accept it (statement) from a government with a powerful Prime Minister and Home Minister. The government is saying it has a 56-inch chest,” Bukhari said.

He said there is no role of any of the neighbouring countries in the holding of elections in J&K. “The Centre owes an explanation and should ensure early assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir without making any excuse.”

“Tell us directly if you are not willing to hold assembly elections and restore democracy in J&K. It is not acceptable to us that Pakistan does not want the formation of a government in J&K,” the Apni Party leader said.

He alleged that the assembly elections are being delayed without justification in the Union territory.

“Who will conduct elections in J&K? As far as we know, the elections are conducted by the Election Commission/Government of India and no other power on this earth has any right to interfere in J&K,” he said.

Bukhari said panchayat elections are no alternative to the assembly polls. “If they (BJP) are satisfied with panchayats, the Parliament should be turned into a panchayat house as well.” Referring to the terror attack in Poonch that left five soldiers dead on April 20, Bukhari said his party is concerned over the terror attack but requested that the innocent people should not be harassed.

However, those people who provided any kind of support to the terrorists should be handled as per the law, he said.

He said his party will not make any promise to the people which it could not fulfill after the formation of the next government.

“We believe that the government should always speak the truth. We will not promise anything which we could not do later. We promised protection to land and jobs for the local population and we have done it,” he said, adding “we will ensure restoration of statehood as well”.

He said the BJP has promised a lot but has done very little on the ground.

“Why is the BJP not going for assembly elections? Those in power are habitual of making claims of development…they have been talking about an artificial lake in Jammu for the last four years but where is the lake?” Meanwhile, dozens of social and political activists led by former Aquaf administrator Raiz Atish joined the Apni Party.

While welcoming them into the party fold, Bukhari hoped that their joining would strengthen the party in Poonch district.

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