SRINAGAR: Aiming to provide relief to the people "facing challenges since August 5 last year," former People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader Syed Altaf Bukhari launched his own new political party called the 'Jammu and Kashmir Apni (own) Party' (JKAP) here on Sunday.
"It is a very happy occasion that finally we have come up with our party known as Apni Party. It puts a lot of responsibility on us as the expectations and challenges are huge. I assure people of Jammu and Kashmir that my will is strong to surmount these challenges in the interest of my people," Bukhari told exclusively to ANI.
"After August 5, a lot has changed. People are in despair, tourism is reduced to zero and local industries have closed down. In that view, challenges are very huge. It is an endeavour to see how we can restore the semblance of these things," he added.
The party was launched especially on the occasion of International Women's Day.
Thirty-one political leaders are expected to join the party, including those from PDP, National Conference (NC) and the Congress, sources added.
Some of them include Dilawar Mir, Noor Mohd Sheikh, Yawar Mir, Zafar Iqbal Manhas and other former MLAs from PDP; Usman Majeed, Aijaz Khan, Mumtaz Khan and Shoaib Nabi Lone from Congress; Vijay Bakaya, Syed Asgar Ali and Kamal Arora from NC.
Informed sources said that the main focus of the party will be the politics of development and that the outfit will have representatives from Jammu and Kashmir, while it is also likely to include the Kashmiri Pandits.
The formation of a political outfit by a former PDP leader -- with the inclusion of leaders from the PDP and NC, and representation from pan Jammu and Kashmir -- could be seen as the beginning of the political process in the region outside of the "family rule party system."
Further stressing on the focus of the newly-formed political party, Bukhari stressed that confidence-building measures between New Delhi and Srinagar needed to be restored. "People here are feeling the absence of credible voices, who can take up their issues and get them sorted," he stressed.