MLA Langate Engineer Rasheed said today he would support the candidates of the NC-Congress coalition government for the upcoming Legislative Council poll if the government releases all political prisoners and withdraw FIRs registered against stone-pelters.

Addressing a press conference here, Rasheed claimed that the ruling NC had approached him and sought support for their candidates even as he (MLA Langate) has already announced the names of two nominees for the LC polls scheduled next month.

Rasheed said he would only support them if it unconditionally released separatist leaders Dr Qasim Faktoo, Masrat Alam and other political prisoners besides withdrawing FIRs against the youths involved in stone-pelting since 2008.

He said he would also support the PDP nominees if the opposition party supported him by bringing a resolution seeking clemency for Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru in the next session of the legislative Assembly.

Flaying Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for questioning former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf over the neighbouring country’s ‘intention’ towards resolving the Kashmir issue, Rasheed said: “How can he (Omar) question when he cannot revoke the AFSPA and lift SMS ban (on pre-paid connections)….If Pakistan does not highlight Kashmir, we will be taken for granted….situation here would have been like that of Palestine….Omar should ask that question to himself and the Government of India as Pakistan has always supported Kashmiris on all fronts.”

Claiming that the recent court order on Faktoo had been ‘misread’ by the separatists, who have called for a shutdown tomorrow against the verdict, Langate said, “Before calling the shutdown, they should have read the court order….it is a good judgment as it says the state government can release him (Faktoo).”

“Now it is up to the state government whether it releases him or not…but it listens to the diktats of New Delhi,” he added.

Rasheed also expressed surprise over the statement of Member of Parliament and senior NC leader Dr Mehboob Beg where he had reportedly sought the release of Faktoo. “There can be no bigger joke than this. Dr Beg is himself in power and the high court has said it is the prerogative of the state government to release Dr Faktoo,” he said.

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