In a first major political initiative in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of article 370 on August 5, 2019, Apni Party, a new political party was floated by former PDP leader and minister Altaf Bukhari on Sunday.
Bukhari, addressing a press conference at his residence at Residency Road, said Apni party has been launched with the sole purpose of carrying out development in Jammu and Kashmir.
Several new members of the party who quit different political parties, especially, PDP and the Congress like Usaman Majeed, Dilawar Mir, Javid Baig, Shoiab Lone, Ajaz Khan, Rafi Mir, Vikram Malhotra, and former chief secretary Vijay Bakaya, and Ghulam Hassan Mir and others were present at the launching ceremony.
"The issues like self rule and autonomy do not figure on the agenda of 'Apni Party', he said. Its sole purpose is to strive for development and politics of truth."
Flanked by the new members of Apni Party, Bukhari said Apni Party will not behave like dynastic parties and the president of the party will be elected on a rotational basis.
He said he decided to form a new party to solve the problems faced by the people in absence of a political setup after the abrogation of Article 370.
Condemning the slapping of Public Safety Act (PSA) on three former chief ministers, he said concerns should also be shown about Kashmiri youth and political workers detained under this stringent law outside J&K.
On what was Apani Party's stand on the revocation of the Article 370, the former finance minister said the matter was pending before the Supreme Court.
"If I don't accept the abrogation of Article 370, will the decision change?" he asked. "We must wait for the Supreme Court's decision."
About his role being likened to former J&K Prime Minister Ghulam Mohammad Bakshi, who stepped in after Sheikh Abdullah was jailed in 1953 by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, he said Bakshi had an economic vision, and such a vision is the dire need of the present times.
"People are facing a lot of problems, the need is to work to ease their difficulties," he said.
"We have to do business with Delhi irrespective of who is ruling," he added.
He said he was an individual driven by his own decisions. He said joining politics was his decision and he doesn't follow orders from others.
"We want to end the mistrust between Srinagar and New Delhi," he said. "We are at a stage where Kashmir and Jammu both demand statehood and domicile rights for its citizens."
"If we don't raise our issues, who will do it for us?" he asked.
"We are the citizens of J&K first and after that we belong to political parties," he said. "Our party is a mixture of experienced ones and new faces."
He said they are a regional party with a national outlook.