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J&K: Former NC Legislator Launches New Party Ahead of Panchayat Elections

Anees Zargar |
Sheikh Ishfaq Jabbar launches Jammu Kashmir United Movement, months after he was expelled from the National Conference’s membership in April.
J&K: Former NC Legislator Launches New Party Ahead of Panchayat Elections

Sheikh Ishfaq Jabbar. Image Courtesy: Twitter

Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) leader Sheikh Ishfaq Jabbar has launched a new political party, Jammu Kashmir United Movement (JKUM), months after he was expelled from the National Conference’s (NC’s) membership in April this year.

Jabbar, 48, launched the new outfit as the regional parties are gearing up for the upcoming Panchayat elections likely to be held in October-November later this year. JKUM is one of the many political outfits launched in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35 A on August 5, 2019. 

Earlier, former People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Altaf Bukhari formed his own outfit, Apni Party, in March 2020. Then, former Congress party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad launched the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) in September 2022. 

“My vision is to serve the people of Jammu and Kashmir, which is facing massive problems and pressing issues related to identity and transparent politics,” Jabbar told NewsClick. 

The former NC legislator from the Ganderbal Constituency was expelled by NC top brass in April after he was accused of ‘anti-party activities” and “indiscipline.” Jabbar, however, claimed that it was the National Conference, which is responsible for the political upheaval in the region especially in the wake of abrogation of region’s “special status”. 

“Both Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar are responsible for the plight of Kashmiris, and they have been complicit in the actions taken against the people of Kashmir. It has become evident that both, including Omar, who served as minister in the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, are not moved by people’s plight but are only after power,” the leader said. 

Showing concern about issues including the revocation of 370, rising unemployment and identity, Jabbar added that he is confident about his move and will be working hard for his party’s participation in the upcoming Panchayat and municipal elections. “I can assure people that there will be a new narrative for the politics of Kashmir, and it will emerge from Ganderbal in the coming days,” he said. 

Jabbar, who worked in the police department between 2000-2008, is the son of Sheikh Abdul Jabbar, one of the founding members of NC and was considered a close confidant of Sheikh Abdullah. The leader from Ganderbal spent nearly 15 years in jail before Sheikh’s return as the chief minister of the erstwhile J&K in the late 70s. However, the senior NC leader was assassinated by suspected militants on April 18, 1990, in the aftermath of the outbreak of insurgency when his son was a Class 8 student. Ganderbal, however, remained an NC stronghold through the years. 

The former NC legislator, however, claims that he feels “betrayed” by the party, which he says has wavered off, causing a “political vacuum”. Jabbar was one of the many leaders from the mainstream jailed ahead of the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35 A and spent close to eight months under arrest. His wife, Nuzhat Jabbar, later won the District Development Council (DDC) polls with the backing of the People’s Alliance from the Gupkar Declaration (PAGD). 

Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have been saying that the region is reeling with hardships without a representative government since 2018. The leadership has been demanding elections in the region that they claim have descended into disorder under a bureaucratic setup.  

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