Govt must respect people’s verdict, release Engineer Rashid: Mehbooba Mufti

SRINAGAR — PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said Wednesday the Centre should respect the verdict of the people and release jailed politician Sheikh Abdul Rashid, alias Engineer Rashid, following his win in the Lok Sabha election in Jammu and Kashmir.

Engineer Rashid, who is in prison in a militant financing case, emerged a giant slayer in Jammu and Kashmir, defeating former J&K chief minister and National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah in the Baramulla seat by a margin of over two lakh votes.

In a post on ‘X’, Mufti said, “Heartfelt congratulations to Mian Altaf, Aga Ruhullah, Engineer Rashid & Haneefa Jan for winning the parliament elections. Government of India must respect verdict of the people & release Engineer Rashid.” Iltija Mufti, the PDP chief’s daughter, also demanded the release of Rashid, who is currently lodged in Tihar jail.

“Congratulations to Ruhullah Mehdi, Mian Altaf sahab, Hanifa Jan & last but certainly not the least Engineer Rashid for their splendid victories. Hope they become powerful voices to articulate the pain & grievances of the people of J&K rendered voiceless since 2019. GOI must also release Engineer Rashid immediately,” she posted on X.

In another post, Iltija listed out the factors that the voters might have considered while exercising their franchise.

“Key takeaways about this election from Kashmir- 1) Jail is a powerful sentiment that resonates deeply with Kashmiris given that thousands of young Kashmiri men continue languishing in jails on trumped up charges. 2) Religious influence trumps & trounces good governance & a development agenda. 3) Kashmiris esp youngsters & women voted for & preferred individuals vis a vis parties,” Iltija Mufti said.

“Safe to assume that youth here participated in the political process by exercising their right to vote. There is most certainly a yearning & churn for change,” she added.

The PDP president was defeated in the Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat by National Conference leader Mian Altaf Ahmad while his party colleague Aga Ruhullah prevailed over PDP youth president Waheed Para in the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat. — (PTI)