Propelling the first political development since the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, former PDP leader Altaf Bukhari quit Mehbooba Mufti's party to launch a third front- J&K Apni Party. Filling the political vacuum left by the detainment of mainstream Kashmiri leaders, the 'J&K Apni Party' was launched on March 8 and consists of senior political leaders, academics, legal luminaries, activists, and like-minded people, was launched on March 8.
In an interaction with Republic's Zeenat Zeeshan, the president of Apni Party Altaf Bukhari reiterated the party's agenda of restoring statehood and stablising the economic condition of the newly turned union territory. During the interview, Bukhari expressed his dismay towards the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir under the J&K Reorganisational Act, 2019.
He said, "The agenda is simple, that we want to remove the miseries of people that they have been facing since August 5. We want restoration of statehood, rights on domicile and land. We want jobs, education institutions, economic activities, tourism, and business to have suffered, we want them to compensate. We want political leaders to be released, we want cases against youth to be taken back." "It is unfortunate that the state has been bifurcated, we have lost one of the precious parts. At the moment, we would like the statehood to be restored," he added.
When questioned over the allegations that Bukhari launched the party behind the curtains and amid the detention of PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, NC Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, and other political leaders. He said, "People will say many things, it is not behind their backs. We did not do any activity clandestinely. We did it openly."
"We're not here to sell dreams and fantasies but will always be pragmatic, honest & fair in our approach. We have resolved to create a political platform where people are real stakeholders of the political process. Restoration of statehood, domicile rights on land jobs form our core agenda. We are a regional party with a national outlook," said Bukhari to reporters in Srinagar adding "This party is not floated by a family&there will be a total restriction that anybody who becomes President of the party cannot be elected more than 2 times," Bukhari said launching the party earlier on Sunday.
Restrictions have been put on communication links since August 5 in Jammu and Kashmir, these were subsequently eased. Since the revocation, state-run internet provider BSNL has restored internet services throughout the Kashmir valley, but with a speed of 2G with special instructions. The temporary ban on social media sites was removed last week, however, complaints of inaccessibility persisted. Several mainstream leaders, including former chief ministers- Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and others including Shah Faesel, Naeem Akhtar, Ali Mohammad Sagar, and Sarah Madni have been detained under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) by the Jammu-Kashmir administration for over seven months now.