Shujaat Bukhari

SRINAGAR: Welcoming the Election Commission’s decision to defer J&K polls, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday said the party’s stand that the situation in the State is not conducive for elections has been vindicated.

In a statement here on Tuesday, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said it had been her party’s considered view that before embarking on any electoral process in the State, the government must take concrete measures to address the concerns and aspirations of the people to rebuild their confidence.

“While the proposed October 21 opening of Srinagar-Muzzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawlakote roads for trade is a significant measure towards addressing the external dimensions of the Kashmir issue, we have to move equally fast and with determination to address the internal dimensions of the problem as well,” Ms. Mufti said.

Reconciliatory steps

She said the government must reach out to the people of Jammu &Kashmir with reconciliatory and confidence-building measures that address their political, economic and administrative concerns.

Ms. Mufti said the killing of around 60 unarmed protesters by the security agencies, mass arrests of youth and political activists, destruction of properties and various other repressive measures after the agitation over the Amarnath land row, had inflicted deep scars on the people’s psyche that would take some time to heal.

“While the deferring of polls is a welcome step, the government must now initiate a sustained process of engagement and reconciliation to rebuild the people’s confidence,” Ms. Mufti said.