Ex-babu, former engineer forge new front in run-up to Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections

Faesal and Rasheed announced the pre-poll alliance at a crowded press conference here, naming the coalition as the Peoples United Front (PUF).

Published: 18th June 2019 04:02 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th June 2019 12:00 PM   |  A+A-

Former IAS officer Shah Faesal (Photo | Facebook)

Express News Service

SRI NAGAR: Former IAS officer-turned-politician and J&K Peoples Movement (JKPM) chairman Shah Faesal and Awami Ittihad Party (AIP) chairman Engineer Sheikh Abdul Rashid announced a pre-poll alliance for the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

At a joint press conference in Srinagar on Tuesday, Faesal and Rashid announced the formation of Public United Front (PUF).

JKPM and AIP have drafted a 45-point Common Agenda for Alliance, which talks about facilitating the resolution of Kashmir issue. The PUF functioning would be monitored by a six-member committee with three members from each party.

The agenda also aims at supporting all confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan to secure relief for the people on both sides of the Line of Control.

Addressing the regional aspirations, undoing the erosion of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, facilitating the return of Kashmiri Pandits and release of all political detenues are other main goals of the agenda of the new alliance.

“The alliance was necessitated by political uncertainty, apprehensions regarding assault on special status and absence of any credible political alternative in the state,” said former PDP leader Javed Mustafa Mir, who joined hands with Faesal earlier this year.

Mir has been appointed as the head of the three-member coordination committee of the PUF.

Sheikh Abdul Rashid said the alliance is not against any individual, party, community or region but aimed at providing the people a durable, workable and strong political alternative, which would give them not only best governance but also do whatever possible to find a permanent resolution in Kashmir.

Faesal pledged that the alliance is committed to protect not only Article 35A or 370 but also struggle to achieve what was snatched or what Kashmiris deserve.

"There are assaults on the special position of the state and there is a lack of credible political alternative. There is no political force that can give good governance and fill the political vacuum," Mir told reporters.

Rashid unsuccessfully contested the recent Lok Sabha polls from Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency but put in a splendid show by taking lead in five of the 15 assembly segments that constitute the parliamentary seat.

Faesal, who quit the government service in January this year, had extended support to Rasheed's candidature.

The 2010 UPSC examination topper had expressed willingness to contest the Lok Sabha polls at the time of resigning but later decided against it.

Several young and aspiring politicians including former JNU student leader Shehla Rashid have joined Faesal's JKPM since its formation this March.

New power equation

The new alliance will make the elections in north Kashmir interesting as it poses serious challenge to the National Conference, the Peoples Democratic Party and the Peoples Conference of Sajjad Gani Lone.

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