(Mr. Junaid Azim Mattu, 26, was born in Srinagar. He partly completed his schooling at the Burn Hall School, Srinagar, and partly at the Bishop Cotton School, Shimla. He attended college in America and graduated with a degree in Business and Finance from the Eli Broad School of Business at Michigan State University. He is a consulting financial analyst and telecom-IT entrepreneur based in Srinagar. A seeded national varsity debater throughout his school and college career (his grandfather – Khwaja Ghulam Ahmed Ashai – was one of the founding fathers of the Muslim/National Conference), Mr. Mattu also played under-19 cricket at national level for J&K. He is a founder of the World Kashmiri Students Association (WKSA), a global youth association for Kashmiris based in Srinagar, Kashmir, working on social, economic and political issues through constructive and informed activism. WKSA, as of today has 1,700+ registered members in Kashmir. He is also a nominated alumnus of the Global Young Leaders Conference. He is also the Srinagar District President of J&K Peoples’ Conference, led by Mr. Sajad Lone. In his leisure time, Junaid likes to engage in reading, gardening, watching movies and listening to music.)
‘Srinagar Nobody’s Family Fiefdom’
Srinagar: Taking a dig at the ruling National Conference and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, the Peoples Conference (PC) on Monday said this historic City is nobody’s “family fiefdom” adding the Srinagarites who have been long “persecuted, neglected and exploited by both NC and PDP governments, are now looking for a cleaner, effective and genuine political alternative.”
The PC Srinagar Head, Junaid Azim Mattu said: “The response that PC’s Caravan of Change has evoked in Srinagar should be an eye-opener for both traditional, nepotistic, corrupt and exploitative mainstream parties whose leaders have made it from rags to riches by looting and skinning the common man.”
He said: “All eight constituencies in Srinagar are represented by alien representatives who are solely the beneficiaries of election boycotts.”
Stating that the people of Srinagar are living a life of deprivation and economic hopelessness due to alleged misrule and malfeasance, Mattu said: “It’s time for the Srinagarites to throw the traditional political garbage out and empower themselves with the vital responsibility of defeating those representatives who have made personal empires on a platform of broken promises, corruption and our own voluntary disempowerment.”
Present elected representatives of Srinagar from the ruling dispensation, he said, have embezzled public wealth and deliberately kept Srinagar economically backward to coerce people to fall in line.
“It was time to remind the government that Srinagar has a rich history and legacy of being a center of enlightenment and evolution and as the capital City of this state deserves all the public amenities and infrastructure that other modern metropolitan cities of the country are basing their economic and technological advancements and progress on,” he said.
Stating that it was a “matter of shame that Srinagar’s government schools, hospitals and government offices were defunct or malfunctioning due to administrative apathy and lack of political will”, Junaid Mattu criticized successive regimes for “governing arbitrarily on a firefighting basis without having comprehensive policies and plans for reform”.
“While the rest of the country is benefitting from reforms in the fields of education, health and public infrastructure – our government is bereft of shame and embarrassment even when the Planning Commission has hit out at the government for failing to come up with any policies for development and addition to our capacity to usher this State into a corrective era of economic growth.”
The Peoples Conference, Mattu said, has comprehensive, sector-specific plans for Srinagar’s development and planned expansion.
“(PC) doesn’t believe in rhetoric and gamesmanship and is consulting with renowned town planning and economic experts to evolve solutions for our urban development mess,” he said.
Mattu said it was a “matter of shame for successive governments that have ruled this state like a family fiefdom they have supposedly inherited that tourists are actually cancelling their plans to visit this state because of lack of accommodation.”
“This reality is criminal as successive governments, through SDA, SMC and LAWDA have suffocated Srinagar under the fig leaf of impractical, socialist laws and archaic regulations and have made construction of hotels in this City a crime punishable by harassment, extortion and coercion,” he added.
Mattu said Srinagar cannot prosper if its private sector is not encouraged and positively reassured by liberal laws that aim at giving Srinagar modern roads, hospitals, schools, hotels, factories, industries and retail spaces.
“If governments in Gujarat and Bihar can aid and facilitate the private sector in their states, why can’t a government in Kashmir do the same instead of starting a new era of License Raj?” he argued.