In rapidly evolving development about Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre has formally invited all the heads of political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir for talks on June 24.
Union Home Secretary Saturday evening separately called political leaders including National Conference president Dr. Farooq Abdullah, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir, Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari and others. The home secretary has invited all former chief ministers of J&K including Ghulam Nabi Azad and four deputy chief ministers for the meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence.
"The home secretary talked to me on phone and conveyed that Prime Minister convened a meeting on June 24 with political parties of Jammu and Kashmir and asked me to attend the meeting,” CPIM leader and the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) spokesman, Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami told Outlook. “Others (political leaders in the PAGD) have also got the invitation. We will discuss it among ourselves. We will sit together to chalk out a strategy and certainly, we will be discussing the Kashmir situation,” he said.
J&K Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir said he has got the invitation and he would respond to it after having discussions about it. “We don’t know what the talks are all about. There is no agenda. We don’t know whether they are about the restoration of the statehood, or about the restoration of Article 370 or about the delimitation commission, we don’t know anything. We will be discussing the invitation within a day or two,” Mir said.
The invitation is the biggest political reach out after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019. The government had kept almost all leaders including three former Chief Ministers, Dr Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti under preventive custody for over a year after the abrogation of Article 370.
The inclusion of all former Chief Ministers for the talks is an indication that former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad would be a key negotiator in the ongoing political process.
“We have got the invitation and we are certainly going for the talks. We believe talks are the only solution. We have been engaging with the Central government for past two years and we think engagement is the only thing that would bring good to people of Jammu and Kashmir,” Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari told Outlook.
The BJP Kashmir unit in a statement in Srinagar said all-party meetings in New Delhi is a welcome move. “The central leadership led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is always caring about Kashmiri people and has a special place for our people. It is the first meeting after the erstwhile state was split into two union territories. We have full faith in the leadership and whatever decision they will take or discuss during all-party meeting, it will be for the benefit and betterment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” the BJP statement said.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine