Former PDP leader and minister Altaf Bukhari on Sunday formally launched his new political party called ‘J&K Apni Party’ in Jammu and Kashmir amidst much speculation. Speaking exclusively to Republic TV about the agenda of his party, Bukhari said, "The agenda is very simple. We want to remove the miseries of Jammu and Kashmir that they are facing since August 5."
"We want restoration of statehood, domicile rights on land, jobs, educational institutions. We want compensation for tourism and business that have suffered. We want political leaders to be released, and cases against youth to be taken back. Very honestly, we will not promise the moon and stars only what is possible through us," said Altaf Bukhari.
Earlier this week, Bukhari had held an informal meeting with some senior political leaders, academics, legal luminaries, activists, and like-minded people in Jammu to discuss the political situation in Jammu-Kashmir, which has been on lockdown since August 5. The meeting is said to have resulted in a consensus on the need for a 'democratic political alternative'.
Speaking on the abrogation of 370, Bukhari said, "It is unfortunate that the state was bifurcated, at the moment we want statehood to be restored, that would be first."
While seemingly evading questions on the role of separatists in Kashmir, Bukhari said, "This is not a question, I am a regional party. I will talk about my people and their sufferings to go. How they will go is for the Government of India to see."
Bukhari also rubbished rumours of him going behind the backs of mainstream Kashmiri leaders like Omar Abdullah or Mehbooba Mufti's to form his own party, taking advantage of their house arrest saying, "It's an open thing we didn't do any activity clandestinely. We met the Lieutenant Governor, the media persons, everyone, openly."