Demanding a “political solution” to the Jammu and Kashmir problem, former IAS officer Shah Faesal on Monday told his first public meeting that he wanted to chart his own course in politics a la Imran Khan and Arvind Kejriwal.
Faesal, 35, told the public rally at the Tourist Reception Centre that “our Ph.D scholars are getting martyred while our youths are accused of waging protests after being paid Rs 500 each.
“As a civil servant, I have seen the bitter experiences faced by our people to seek their genuine rights.
“Kashmir is a political issue and it should be resolved in a political way. Those at the helm of affairs enjoy while the people in Kashmir suffer. I saw this while in service.
“I was deeply disturbed by seeing these things. That is why I left the civil service,” he said.
Faesal said it was the callous attitude of those at the helm of affairs that forced him to leave the comforts of the civil service and join politics.
He told the gathering that his politics would be like that of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
“My partymen will work selflessly for the good of the people,” he asserted, indicating his intention to steer clear of other mainstream and separatist political parties in order to form a political outfit of his own.
The 2009 IAS topper belongs to a village of Kupwara district.
After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in medicine from the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), he became the first Kashmiri ever to top the coveted civil service.
His dream with the civil service could not last long as he felt bureaucrats were forced to work at the whims of their political masters.
Faesal said he would work for the honour and dignity of the Kashmiri people by fighting corruption, injustice and poor governance.
“I have decided to fight every party that has been exploiting the innocent people of Kashmir.
“When politicians are asked what is the issue, they say ‘Kashmir is a problem. Give them monetary packages’. Do we only need money? Is the Kashmiri a beggar?
“We want to tell them that Kashmir is a political problem. They should not play with the lives of Kashmiri people by throwing money around.
Referring to the period he was in IAS, Faesal said: “I tell you honestly I spent the last 10 years in a jail. In many ways I tried to serve my people and succeeded as well, but what I saw in those 10 years despite being a senior government officer, the fire in my heart… the atrocities and injustices I saw, I used to feel helpless.”
Faesal responded to allegations that he was an agent of intelligence agencies.
“To those who spread these false rumours, I have just one answer. I may lose, but I will bear everything for my people.”
As the meeting progressed, scores of youth raised slogans normally heard at pro-freedom rallies.
“Yahan Kya Chalega, Nizam-e-Mustafa.” The other slogan was: “Aya, Aya, Shair Aya.”
Faesal has earlier said that his resignation was a small act of defiance against the continuing killings in Jammu and Kashmir and the failure of the central government to start an initiative that would address the people’s problems in Kashmir.