People of J&K feel marginalised, unheard: Waheed Parra

| Updated: 13 May, 2024 12:05 pm IST

SRINAGAR: In an exclusive interview with The New Indian, PDP’s candidate for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, Waheed ur Rehman Parra, highlighted a significant trust gap between Kashmiri youth and the establishment. He pledged to advocate for the empowerment of J&K residents who feel marginalized and stifled.

Waheed criticized the National Conference for its reluctance to take a firm stance, attributing it to their past mistakes. Despite their considerable baggage, he asserted they lack the humility to apologize to the people, exhibiting arrogance and unwarranted confidence. He said the National Conference believes that the people of J&K have no viable alternatives except them.

Q1: How would you describe your political journey, transitioning from a trusted aide of former CM Mehbooba Mufti to facing jail in a terrorism-related case, and now vying in the Lok Sabha election?

A: I believe this mirrors the journey of every Kashmiri aspiring to engage in the mainstream political process. Over the past three decades, we have endeavoured to express our opinions, ideas, and political perspectives, often encountering imprisonment and legal battles. Rather than attributing blame to specific governments or parties, it’s the circumstances of our region that often lead young Kashmiris to incarceration, regardless of their endeavours.

Q2: What is your response to the assertion by NC that PDP lacks a significant presence on the ground?

A: The NC has consistently accused us of being disconnected from the grassroots. Our allegiance and partnership lie with the Kashmiri populace. We will endeavour to ensure that both the people of Kashmir and our supporters reject the perceived arrogance of the J&K National Conference.

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Q3: Should you win the Lok Sabha seat, what fresh initiatives do you plan to introduce in Kashmir, distinct from the endeavours of previous MPs?

A: I believe the foremost priority is amplifying the voices of J&K residents who feel marginalized and unheard. While development initiatives are underway, addressing the lack of effective grievance redressal mechanisms is crucial. We will establish institutional frameworks to address cases under UAPA against Kashmiri youth and incidents of hate crimes targeting Kashmiris outside J&K. We aim to prevent harassment of Kashmiris anywhere they reside.

Additionally, we intend to implement a comprehensive amnesty program for Kashmiri youth with pending cases, providing them an opportunity to reintegrate into mainstream society and lead fulfilling lives. It’s imperative to bridge the trust gap between Kashmiri youth and the system.

ALSO READ: J&K Assembly degraded to level of glorified municipality: Aga Ruhullah  – THE NEW INDIAN


Q4: Has the PDP acknowledged the situation in Kashmir following August 5, 2019, considering the lack of narratives such as self-rule and talks with Pakistan on Kashmir?

A: The concept of self-governance forms the core of PDP’s manifesto, which continually evolves to address the enduring challenges in Kashmir. Currently, our focus is on the parliamentary election, with the primary goal of breaking the prevailing silence that exists in Kashmir. Only once this silence is shattered can discussions on self-governance and other significant matters, such as dialogue with Pakistan on Kashmir, proceed.

Q5: What happened to the Gupkar Alliance? Why did it break?

A: I acknowledge the high hopes and expectations placed on the PAGD coalition. PDP made significant sacrifices to uphold the alliance. However, during elections, NC unilaterally fielded its candidates for all Kashmiri seats. Had they communicated their intention to contest all three seats, we would have willingly accommodated them.

Instead, they issued arrogant statements against PDP, exacerbating trust issues. Despite holding three parliamentary seats, the National Conference has been notably absent in both visibility and parliamentary discourse over the past five years.

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