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A new narrative

A new narrative

It indeed came as a surprise when Shah Faesal announced his very early retirement from bureaucracy and articulated his reason for venturing into politics. As the first Kashmiri to have ever aced the Civil Services exam for 2011 batch, Dr. Shah Faesal's popularity only took off with his celebrated selection. What held him in high esteem, however, have been his clarity of thought and expressions with respect to crucial matters of governance and political functioning. His comments and opinions regarding matters pertaining to Kashmir are known to be insightful and have a generally satisfactory extent of comprehensiveness which happen to holistically present an otherwise partial, chipped-off snippet of information. His critical comments on the functioning of the NDA government were as appreciated. His departure from bureaucracy came with a very compelling reason: To raise the concerns that were previously not possible while within the limits of official conduct and protocol. After some prolonged speculation about his possible affiliation to the valley's prominent party National Conference and contesting from Baramullah, the former IAS officer launched his political party on Sunday amid grand fanfare. This was quite a marked turn-around from the notion he advocated previously that launching a new party would only add to the existing system in terms of numbers and not necessarily quality; what is needed on the contrary is a platform within the existing system which will allow fresh opportunities to the multitude of youth brimming with the urge to bring a constructive change and accomplish.

Articulating further his motivation behind launching his party, he emphasised the necessity of having civic needs met foremost: roads, electricity, safe drinking water, changing lives of people by making a much-needed overhaul of basic functioning at the very grassroots and not by propagating sensational ideas that mobilise masses that eventually fizzle out. But the hindrance to materialising this objective is the state of constant fear that an average Kashmiri lives in; the stepping stone to greater developments has to begin with addressing this fear. Shah Faesal's march into mainstream politics has, however, is not been met with absolute support and many still continue to label him as 'agent' of the Army. In spite of all criticism, his resolve to end the state of mental slavery and siege is pursued undeterred. Promotion of sustainable development strategies, building progressive, gender-sensitive political institution with traditional values and modern sensibilities, uplifting the marginalised communities like the Gujjars and the Bakerwals (especially after the Kathua rape case), working for a transparent, clean corruption-free politics in J&K are some of the highlighted agendas of this new party. The objectives of JKPM are stated to be working for an inclusive and pluralistic society with adequate political representation for underprivileged communities.

Indeed, this is a refreshing set of objectives for a region that has been roiling in a political mess to the extent that the society and the social sector development took a back seat, and was only occasionally visible on the national front. There is no doubt that Shah Faesal has lifted the hopes of the common Kashmiri youth but it is still too early to predict the outcome with as much excitement as the ushering in of JKPM.

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