Kickstarting democracy again in the Kashmir Valley, ex-PDP minister Altaf Bukhari on Sunday launched the Jammu-Kashmir's new political front 'Jammu Kashmir Apni party'. Accepting the 'undeniable reality' of scrapping Article 370 by the Centre, he stated that the new party will work towards the development and harmonious society. Highlighting the huge sacrifice of the Kashmiris for keeping democracy alive in the Valley, Bukhari, who has been unanimously voted as president of the new faction, said that it warranted a new party. He also demanded the release of the detained main-stream Kashmiri leaders including his former chief Mehbooba Mufti.
"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 total restriction that anybody who becomes President of party cannot be elected more than 2 times."
Altaf Bukhari-led new political outfit named ‘Apni Party’ consists of senior political leaders, academics, legal luminaries, activists, and like-minded people. Former legislators Vijay Bakaya, Usman Majid, Ghulam Hassan Mir, Javed Beg, Dilawar Mir, Zaffar Manhas, Noor Muhammad, Abdul Rahim Rather, Abdul Majid Paddar, Gagan Bhagat, Manjeet Singh and ten senior leaders of the Congress party quit the grand old party to join the new front. the total strength of the party is 40 leaders including Bukhari and will soon meet PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to demand the restoration of statehood and domicile rights.
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.