The chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Mohamed Sayeed passed away at the age of 79, on Thursday morning, after barely one year in the office as the chief minister of the state. Sayeed is survived by his wife Gulshan Ara and kids Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed, Mehmooda Sayeed, Rubaiyya Sayeed and Mufti Tasaduq Sayeed. He was the 12th chief minister of the state and will be succeeded by his daughter Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed, who will be the first woman chief minister of the state. Sayeed was born in Bijbehara town of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district on January 12, 1936. Sayeed developed a passion for politics in his teens when he met the then chief minister of the state, Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad in mid 1950s, with National Conference Party.In July 1999, Sayeed found the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The party was founded with the aim to persuade the government of India to initiate an unconditional dialogue with Kashmiris for the resolution of the Kashmir problem.
Sayeed soon emerged as a mass leader, despite the long history of conflicts in the state. He has served as the chief minister of the state twice- first from November 2, 2002, to November 2, 2005 and second time from March 1, 2015 to today. He became known for his astute political sense, honed by decade of being in Kashmir politics. It was this very sense that helped him in forging an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2015.The PDP’s rise brought about the downfall of Jammu and Kashmir’s oldest and once most popular party National Conference (NC), which was founded by Sheikh Abdullah (Sher-e-Kashmir or Lion of Kashmir). Interestingly, Sayeed had started his political career with the National Conference Party in 1950.Sayeed was a member of the Grand Old Party Congress, for almost four decades, until he parted ways with it to join Jan Morcha by former prime minister VP Singh. When Singh became the PM, Mufti won the Lok Sabha elections from Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh. He became the first Muslim Home Minister of India in 1989.
Sayeed had survived a lot of attacks by militants on him, throughout his political career. In 1989, his third daughter Rubaiyya was kidnapped by the militants and was released two days later, in exchange for the release of five militants.As the Union Home Minister Sayeed conceptualised and brought into effect the infamous and draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). In 1990, it was introduced only for the state of Jammu and Kashmir, but was later extended to several other states in the North east India too.Sayeed came to power as chief minister in Jammu and Kashmir, after PDP won 18 seats in Constituent Assembly in 2002. He formed an alliance with the Congress. As the CM, Sayeed kickstarted an important phase in the peace process, by bringing in the then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee to address a rally in Srinagar. This lead to many peace efforts like ceasefire along the border, engagement of separatist leaders with the center, release of several political prisoners etc. (CNS)