Srinagar: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) today released its election manifesto which promised to pursue 'Self Rule' as framework for resolution of Kashmir, besides effective governance to fight corruption and to rebuild the shattered economy of the state.
"The special status enshrined in Article 370 (of Constitution) is required to empower the people of Jammu and Kashmir and help deal with the issues of identity, borders and governance," the manifesto, released by senior PDP leaders, including party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, read.
The party, in the manifesto titled 'an aspiration agenda', asserted that Article 370 effects everything from political discourse to personal responses, economy to emotions, society to sensibilities and institutions to ideologies.
The party said the self rule document will be the guiding framework for resolution which included closer ties across the Line of Control, making borders irrelevant and complete connectivity between various parts of the state.
It also envisages economic and social integration of the region around Jammu and Kashmir by setting up Regional Free Trade Area and common economic market.
The PDP has also included its earlier agenda of setting up joint coordination mechanism for projects across the Line of Control and joint regulatory commission on trade and tariffs.
The party has promised constitutional restructuring by restoring the powers of the state Assembly and empowering the sub-regions of the state.
The PDP manifesto, which bears the stamp of former JK Bank chairman and now party candidate from Rajpora constituency Haseeb A Drabu, also talked about reviving the economy, resource generation and protection of environment.
"Economic policy and reforms will promote self rule through extensive import substitution, intensive export orientation and globalisation of skills and standards," the manifesto reads.
The PDP will focus on international benchmarking of products and processes by registering patents for handicrafts manufactured in the state like shawls and carpets. The party also promises regional trade integration with SAARC economies.
"This is based on the European Union model where trade between the member countries is free from levies. The SAARC region will also have to move in that direction," Sayeed said in response to a question.
Asked if his PDP would ally with BJP after the polls in view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's focus on regional cooperation in SAARC, Sayeed said it was not a question of allying but coordination.
"In 2002, we worked in coordination with Centre (ruled by BJP-led NDA) and started some model steps like cross-LoC travel and trade. There are no customs levies or visa involved in these processes. This has to be taken to a bigger scale now," he said.
The PDP also promised rebuilding the state economy and creating employment avenues. "We are not talking about providing government jobs but creating avenues where the youth of the state can find gainful employment," Drabu said.
On the return of migrant Kashmiri Pandits, the PDP manifesto maintained that they will be reintegrated and absorbed in the Kashmiri milieu.
"Reintegration has to be a process that must start within the state as well as the civil society. Return with dignity will be based on a legal framework of citizenship and their rights as the state subject," it added.
The PDP also promised a legislative framework for empowerment of all minorities, including Sikhs and Christians.
On the women empowerment front, the party also promised to make it mandatory for all political parties to field 33 per cent female candidates in elections.
Other issues included in the PDP manifesto were one time settlement for 1947 Pakistan-occupied Kashmir refugees and Scheduled Tribe status for Pahari people.