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Tuesday, 29 October, 2002, 12:54 GMT
Profile: Mufti Mohammad Sayeed
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed: Veteran operator

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed faces tough challenges in his new role as the chief minister of Indian-administered Kashmir.

The state is in financial ruins. Tourism, once a mainstay, is dead and a decade-old insurgency has destroyed much of Kashmir's industry.

Woman near damaged building
The conflict has damaged Kashmir's economy
But judging by his past, he is a man of perseverance and a great survivor.

Born in 1936, Mr Sayeed's political journey began in 1950 with the National Conference party.

He soon fell out with it, joined the Congress Party and played a key role in establishing the party in Kashmir as a key force opposing the National Conference, which dominated the political landscape.

It was said that the only thing he had in common with the National Conference leader, Farooq Abdullah, was both men played golf.

Mr Sayeed became a state minister in the Congress Party government in 1971.

But the success was followed by a string of defeats - he lost the next two elections.

Comeback

But he bounced back and in 1989 became India's first Muslim home minister.

His term in office was, however, overshadowed by the kidnapping of his daughter, Rubaiyya Sayeed, by Kashmiri militants.

She was released in exchange for some militants, but the episode left a dent on the government's prestige and her father's political career.

Mr Sayeed has often been regarded as an opportunist by his critics.

He has changed allegiance frequently - he left the National Conference to join the Congress Party, then went over to the Janata Dal, again rejoined the Congress and finally quit it to form his own People's Democratic Party (PDP).

Mehbooba Mufti
Daughter Mehbooba likely to play key role
The PDP has now emerged as a dominant force in Kashmiri politics.

But much of the credit for building the party goes to Sayeed's other daughter, Mehbooba Mufti.

She organised the party ranks, led the election campaign and encouraged her father to drive a hard bargain with the Congress Party.

She is herself likely to play an important role - either in the government or outside.

Both her and her father will now be under pressure to deliver, having raised expectations of a new start for Kashmir.

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28 Oct 02 | South Asia
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