The Situation in Kashmir is “Like a Mini-War”: an Interview with the PDP’s Muzaffar Baig

25 September 2016
Shahid Tantray
Shahid Tantray

A founding member of Jammu and Kashmir’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Muzaffar Hussain Baig is a former deputy chief minister of the state, and is currently a member of parliament. In the wake of the recent unrest in Kashmir, Baig reportedly said that the state government in Jammu and Kashmir should resign if it was unable to fulfil the promises it had made to the people in the region.On 9 September 2016, the Indian Express reported that Baig had stated that the government has so far, “failed to deliver” on its “agenda of alliance.” In other interviews,he suggested that the chief minister Mehbooba Mufti should resign if the situation in Kashmir remains unchanged six months.

On 13 September, Moazum Mohammad, a journalist based in Srinagar, spoke to Baig over the phone. He asked Baig about the latter's stance on the performance of Mehbooba Mufti’s government, his views on the PDP’s alliance with the BJP,  how the Kashmiri population perceives the administration, and the way forward for the PDP.

Moazum Mohammad: Why do you feel the state government has faltered, and in which areas?

Muzaffar Baig: Before Mufti Mohammad Sayeed assumed power, it took us three-months to cobble together the PDP-BJP coalition. During those months, the impression to people was that we are not rushing to assume power, and we want to get the best possibilities for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. When the agenda of alliance was formed, there was mention of economic development, employment, social sector, and physical infrastructure. More than that, what attracted people was that there will be progress on resolving the 70-year-old Kashmir issue, which is a festering wound, not only for people of the state but also for India and Pakistan. On the internal front, progress could be explored by making attempts through reaching out to separatists and holding dialogue with them on practical, pragmatic and achievable goals.

I don’t think any government in India would grant independence to Jammu and Kashmir or could go back to accession time—when India and Pakistan came into existence in 1947. No country can do that.

Moazum Mohammad is a reporter based in Srinagar.

Keywords: Kashmir Jammu and Kashmir BJP Mehbooba Mufti Narendra Modi Mufti Mohammad Sayeed PDP alliance Burhan Wani unrest Muzaffar Baig