Mufti Muhammad Sayeed - the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir

A few weeks ago, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed was sworn in as the twelfth Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. The party leader had led the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to victory in twenty eight of the eighty seven shttp://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/jk-govt-formation-patriarch-mufti-cm-deputy-from-bjp-in-jk-deal/eats in the state election held in Jammu and Kashmir in 2014. The PDP has formed the government in alliance with the BJP in the state. The two parties took over two months to deliberate on some contentious issues like Article 370 and AFSPA before an alliance was struck. Some facts about Sayeed – the new chief minister are enumerated below:-

1.    He is about seventy nine years old, being born in the year 1936 in Bijbehara town in Anantnag district in Kashmir.

2.    He formed the party in 1999 and has emerged as a popular figure in Kashmir.

3.    He is believed to be responsible for the downfall of Sheikh Abdullah’s - the Sher–e–Kashmir and the powerful party that he belonged, the National Conference.

4.    Sayeed is a long time member of the Congress party, having been a member for four decades until 1987. In 1987, he left the party and joined the Jan Morcha formed by the former Prime Minister V. P. Singh.

5.    He became the first Muslim Home Minister of India in 1989 when he was so appointed by V. P. Singh after winning the seat from Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh.

6.    During his time as Home Minister, he introduced the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Kashmir to tackle the terrorist problems there. This Act is highly unpopular in Kashmir and people have been demanding its revocation.

7.    Sayeed has been the target of many terrorist attacks. He has survived multiple attacks on his life.

8.    During his term as Home Minister, one of his daughters - Rubaiya Sayeed was kidnapped by terrorists. Her release was obtained after a great deal of dialogue in exchange for five JKLF militants.

9.    For a brief period, he rejoined the Congress, but quit again in 1999 to form his own party - the PDP, and has been a force to reckon with in the state ever since.

10.    He became Chief Minister first in 2002 in alliance with the Congress. The PDP won sixteen seats and was also a key member of the UPA 1 government at Delhi.

11.    During his first term as Chief Minister, he invited the Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to address a rally in Srinagar. This single action set off a wave of peace efforts within the state and there was ceasefire along the borders and talks with separatists within Kashmir.

12.    The PDP’s vision for the state is set out in the party’s Self-Rule documents. It envisages a Free Trade Zone within the state under an agreement between India and Pakistan.

13.    It is the PDP’s stand that a free movement of men and materials across the Line of Control will facilitate the peace process in Jammu and Kashmir.

14.    And as a part of the above, PDP desires to open the roads along the LoC (Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakote) so that a new economic alliance can be forged.

We wish all the best to Mr. Sayeed and hope he can bring in some peace into a troubled Jammu and Kashmir.

Atreyee Roy (have 690 posts in total)

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