Hectic activities in Kashmir as political parties discuss centre’s invitation for talks

Srinagar: Hectic activities were witnessed on Sunday in Kashmir valley where political parties discussed the invitation from the centre for an all-party meeting which will be presided over by Prime Minister Narendar Modi in New Delhi on June 24

However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) despite holding detailed meeting is yet to announce any final decision as the Political Affairs Committee (PAC), which is the highest decision making body of the party, has authorized president Mehbooba Mufti to take final call on the invitation. The National Conference (NC) said that party leadership will hold consultations with senior party leaders, including from Ladakh, till Monday before announcing the final decision about the invitation to the meeting.

Similarly, Peoples Conference (PC) headed by Sajad Gani Lone is expected to meet in the summer capital on Monday to discuss whether they will take part in the meeting or not.

Senior CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said that the party leaders have started discussing over the invitation and will soon take a call.

Meanwhile, Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) — National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), CPI(M), Awani National Conference (ANC) and Peoples Movement — is meeting on Tuesday to discuss the invitation from the centre.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair a meeting of 14 leaders from eight political parties in J&K on June 24 to discuss the future course of action for the Union Territory.

Mehbooba has been very vocal against the BJP-led NDA government after the abrogation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019, when hundreds of mainstream and separatist leaders besides trade union leaders and political activities were detained while all communication networks were suspended.

Mehbooba, who headed a coalition government with BJP from 2016 to 2019, had said that nothing short of restoration of pre-August 5 position will be acceptable. She had even said that she will not contest elections till the time the demands were not fulfilled.

Meanwhile, the PAGD alliance has time and again said they will fight for the restoration of pre-August 5 position in J&K.

Chief spokesperson and media advisor to PDP president and former Chief Minister Mehbooba, Syed Suhail Bukhari on Sunday told reporters after the PAC meeting that the invitation from the centre was discussed in detail. “Finally it was left to Ms Mehbooba to take a final call on the invitation,” he said.

However, he said a meeting of Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) is being held on Tuesday to discuss the invitation. PAGD had recently held a meeting at the residence of Ms Mehbooba, where it was decided to avail every opportunity to raise the issue of abrogation of special status of J&K at every forum, including Parliament.

NC president Farooq Abdullah on Sunday started consultation with senior party leaders on the invitation by centre to mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir for the meeting. “Dr Abdullah, who was invited as a former chief minister, will continue consultation with the party leaders, including those from Ladakh, till Monday before taking a final decision about the party’s participation in the meeting,” Provisional President of Kashmir Nasir Aslam Wani told reporters.

“Few senior leaders met with the party president today and discussed in details the invite of Dr Abdullah and Omar Abdullah to the all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on June 24. Some more leaders will meet Dr Abdullah in the evening and on Monday morning,” Mr Wani said.

However, he said the NC has not so far called any ‘structured or organized meeting’ to take a decision over the issue. “So far no decision has been taken and we will be able to inform you about the further course of action by tomorrow evening,” he added.

The centre has invited four former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mehbooba Mufti, besides four Deputy Chief Ministers – Muzafar Hussain Beigh, Tara Chand, Nirmal Singh, Kavinder Gupta. Leaders of six other political parties — Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami of CPI(M), Sajad Gani Lone of Peoples Conference, Mohammad Altaf Bukhari of Apni Party, Prof Bhim Singh of Panthers Party, Ravinder Raina of BJP and G A Mir of Congress – were also invited in the meeting.

The meeting by the centre is the first such initiative since August 5, 2019, when the BJP-led NDA government abrogated Article 370 and Article 35 A, besides divided J&K into two Union Territories.

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