Will use parliament as tool of engagement: Shah Faesal
Says no to joining Hurriyat, existing mainstream parties
Srinagar: Days after resigning from country’s elite service, the record maker IAS topper, Shah Faesal on Friday announced to contest the upcoming parliamentary elections, saying that he would like to use parliament as an important and useful tool of engagement for bringing solution to the problem of Jammu and Kashmir.
However, the IAS topper rejected joining any existing mainstream political party as of now.
Shah Faesal while addressing a maiden presser in Srinagar, said that he won’t join Hurriyat as “I am the man from the system and I would be happy to change things by being in the system. Hurriyat doesn’t give me that opportunity as they don’t believe in electoral politics,” he said.
Referring to a query about the tweet of Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Shah Faesal said that Mirwaiz has not invited him to join the Hurriyat but it was a suggestion.
However, he said it was wrong to assume the Hurriyat has no role in achieving resolution of the Kashmir problem.
He also said phrases like ‘azaadi’, right to self-determination and plebiscite should not be seen as taboo words in the mainstream politics.
“We have this political discourse and there are certain taboo words … we should not talk about azaadi, we should not talk about azaadi, we should not talk about plebiscite… all these, which are not actually taboo words.”
“Let the mainstream politics actually open its eyes to that vocabulary and re-imagine,” he said.
“We have got politicians to deal with municipal problems and military to deal with political problem. I think that is a problem itself. We need to open the space for the politicians and leave other things to those who need to be doing it,” he added.
In response to a question about the timing of his resignation, Faesal said he did it at the right time. “Resignation is a weapon which can be used only once and I think I have used it at the right time.”
Faesal said his new initiative of peace-building should not be seen as an alternative to the existing parties, but an addition.
He said his resignation from the IAS has nothing to do with the factors within the service but factors external to it and the environment in which he was working there.
“The service has given me an opportunity to understand the development problems of the state and serve the people at the grassroots level. I will always be a proud ex-member of the service,” he said.
He said that over last few years, in the state and rest of the country there have been circumstances that made him realise that this is time to speak up.
“By the resignation, I am putting across a small act of defiance to remind the central government of its responsibilities towards the people of JK.
“I have no plans to join any existing mainstream political party as of now. I am going to meet people from tomorrow and will get their suggestions about the future course of action. I will take the step after getting suggestions,” he said.
Asked whether he will contest the upcoming polls as independent candidate, Shah said that “let me get the suggestions first if people want me to go with that then I will.”
“I am qualified enough to become an MLA or MP,” he said while replying to a query whether he will get the public support in politics like he got as an IAS officer.
“I believe parliamentary and assembly is an important space. We need well-meaning people there. Due to de-legitimization of mainstream politics, youth were not interested towards politics. We need to change that. I would like to use parliament as an important and useful tool of engagement for bringing solution to our state.”
“I will make people believe that it is a credible institution and not to destroy people. We want to destroy the politics the way it has been happening,” he added.
Faesal, an IAS officer who topped the UPSC exam in the year 2010 and the first to do so from Jammu and Kashmir, told media persons that he is deeply inspired by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Delhi Chief Minister ArvindKejriwal.
“I am deeply inspired by Imran Khan and ArvindKejriwal but as we are operating in a conflict zone and is not very easy for us to work in that space, which is not pleasant. I wish if youngsters give me support then I will be very happy to do a retake of Imran Khan and Kejriwal,” he added.
He added that he would like to serve the people of Kashmir, saying his entire life is for Kashmir now.
“After resigning from IAS, I have no work and my entire life is for Kashmir now,” he said.
About reactions by denizens on social media, Faesal who hails from Lolab area of Kupwara district said, “The movement you started own party, people believe it is sponsored by agencies. If you contest independently then you are an agency person for them. If you join exiting party, then people have problem with that too. We will take any decision once I get suggestions from the youth. I will go to the grass-root level and will start work.”
The IAS topper also praised the former chief minister and Nationals Conference (NC) Vice President during the presser, saying “Omar is a gracious person and supported me. Omar is a leader who guided me always. I would like to make it clear in this press conference that NC never approached me but I went to Omar Abdullah for suggestions,” he said.
He reiterated that he resigned from country’s elite service as a mark of protest, saying rise of lynch mob extremism is another reason for my decision.
“The culture of undermining the institutions like CBI, NIA are part of the provocations that have resulted in my decision to resign from the IAS. There were constant attacks on the identity of Jammu and Kashmir and Article 370 and 35A must be guarded to strength the bond between India and Jammu and Kashmir.”
He also said that the return of Kashmir Pandits should be made possible, which the Central government hasn’t done so far.