Jammu- Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday said that her party’s self-rule formula has the only option available to peacefully resolve the issue of Jammu and Kashmir without compromising the sovereignty of India and Pakistan.
Addressing a press conference in Jammu as per news agency KNO, she said that the self-rule started the day former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee opened Muzaffarabad-Uri and Rawalakot-Poonch cross-LoC routes.
“Nobody can stop the self-rule…if you want to resolve the issue of J&K under the constitutional framework, self-rule is the only option which can find a solution to the issue without changing the boundaries or compromising the integrity of both India and Pakistan,” Mehbooba said.
On pre-poll alliance
The former chief minister also said that her party would take a decision on pre-poll alliance only after the bugle for the assembly elections is sounded as she insisted that their coalition under Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) was meant for restoration of Article 370.
Defending her father and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s decision to form a government with the BJP which ultimately collapsed in 2018, Mehbooba said he had not become a supporter of the BJP but joined hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, wishing that he would tread the path that Vajpayee had shown to resolve the J&K problem.
“He took a decision keeping in view the prevailing situation, the mandate of the people, Vajpayee’s record and the need for dialogue for resolution of the J&K problem. Mufti thought for the people of Jammu who have voted in favour of BJP and cannot be sidelined, she said.
On Kashmiri Pandits and reserved category employees
The PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said Kashmiri Pandit employees and other reserved category employees are suffering because BJP is not willing to change its “everything is alright in Kashmir” narrative.
“We should not sacrifice Kashmiri Pandits and let us do whatever possible to provide them relief,” she said.
“If pandits are leaving Kashmir, they (BJP) will stand exposed. They (pandits) are being made scapegoats, harassed and forced to return, while those having links with the BJP have already been transferred,” she claimed, she said similarly reserved category employees are also suffering.
Urged LG to accept reality
The former chief minister urged Lt Governor Manoj Sinha to mitigate the sufferings of the people rather than spending huge amounts of money on “PR exercises to propagate normalcy” in Jammu and Kashmir.
On Cancelation of recruitment
The PDP president highlighted the cancellation of recruitment process of sub-inspectors, finance accounts assistants and junior engineers in the Jal Shakti Department over alleged irregularities and claimed that farmers from R S Pura and Suchetgarh on the outskirts of Jammu were staring at losses due to failure of the administration to repair irrigation canals.
On Assembly election
The former chief minister said only Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and their industrialist friends know about the timing of the elections.
On Azad’s Art 370 remarks
The PDP president said, “Nothing is impossible…those who are today distributing certificates of nationalism were the same who were not in favour of fighting the British rule but India got freedom because people like Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, B R Ambedkar and Sir Syed (Ahmad) Khan were determined in their fight for independence” .
At his maiden rally in Kashmir after quitting the Congress last month, Azad had on Sunday slammed those promising the restoration of Article 370, saying it was not in their hands and that he would not mislead people over the issue.
“He (Azad) has his own opinion…there are some people who have accepted the BJP narrative, she said.
Mehbooba said he might not have come across the developments in Nagaland where the BJP is having dialogue with the same group which was responsible for blowing up an army vehicle carrying 18 personnel and is contemplating accepting their demand for a separate constitution and a flag.
“People had a lot of hope in Ghulam Nabi Azad regarding the restoration of Article 370, but he has stated that Article 370 will never come back which is unfortunate and he shouldn’t have said this,” he said.
The PDP chief further said that still there are voices in Jammu and Kashmir who believe Article 370 will be restored.
Notably, former Congress leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad, during a rally in Kashmir’s Baramulla yesterday Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “To restore Article 370 would need around 350 votes in the Lok Sabha and 175 votes in the Rajya Sabha. This is a number no political party has or is likely to ever get.”
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