Ex-Jammu & Kashmir Minister Altaf Bukhari Floats New Political Outfit 'JK Apni Party'
File photo of Altaf Bukhari (Photo by Bilal Bahadur)
A new regional political outfit JK Apni Party (JKAP) was formed on Sunday by former finance minister Altaf Bukhari along with 30 political leaders from various local and national parties, with an aim to pitch for restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir and ensure domicile rights in education and jobs.
Flanked by political leaders, including former MLAs, Bukhari announced that the new party was an outfit "of the commoners, by the commoners and for the commoners".
"We are not going to sell moons or unachievable dreams to the people but make attempts to solve their problems," the former PDP leader said.
Reading out the JKAP's declaration, Bukhari said the party would work for restoring "self-esteem and pride" of the people of Jammu and Kashmir which has been hit by the demotion of an erstwhile princely state to a Union Territory.
"The decision taken by the Union government on August 5, 2019, besides scrapping of special status, has reduced the erstwhile princely state to a Union Territory, an unknown and unimaginable situation in last 70 years when a full-fledged state has been reduced to a Union Territory," he said.
Bukhari, who was elected president of the JKAP, said the party's core agenda would be the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir's statehood and its residents' domicile rights in land and jobs.
The government on August 5 last year revoked the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, which came into existence on October 31 in 2019.
Bukhari told a press conference at his residence here that his party would be different from other parties as it was not floated by families, an apparent reference to the National Conference (NC) and the PDP. He had represented the city's Amirakadal constituency in the last assembly of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Several former ministers and legislators joined the new outfit and were seen with Bukhari at the press conference.
The prominent faces included former minister and PDP founding member Ghulam Hassan Mir, former minister and PDP general secretary Dilawar Mir and former ministers Chowdhary Zulfiqar Ahmad, Mohammad Ahsraf Mir, Abdul Majeed Paddar, Aijaz Ahmad Khan and Usman Majeed, besides former chief secretary and ex-NC MLC Vijay Bakaya.
"We have resolved to create a viable, political platform that functions in accordance with the wishes of the people, and where the people are the real stakeholders of the political process," Bukhari said.
The businessman-turned politician made it clear that the party was not power hungry and wanted to work for the common people.
"I do not see elections happening anytime soon. It may take at least a year or so. Let us work for the people till then," he said.