New Delhi: Much to the chagrin of anti-India forces, nobody in the high-profile meeting on Thursday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Kashmir raised the Pakistan bogey.
Most leaders and participants at the meeting including Congress veteran and a former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad said the deliberations were held in a cordial atmosphere.
“It is also fundamental duty and responsibility of all political parties in Jammu and Kashmir to ensure the premature return of Kashmiri pandits,” Azad told reporters.
To a specific question on PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti stating earlier that the Government of India should talk to Pakistan, Azad said, “andar aisey koi baat nahi hui (no such talks happened inside)”.
Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, president of the Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party, also said in response to a question: “Sharad ki uspar ki baat nahi hui…..(nobody talked about Pakistan)”.
Former BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, who handled J&K matters, said, “The fact that J&K meeting has gone on for over three hrs is an indication of its success.”
However, Mehbooba Mufti later told reporters she welcomed the announcement of a ceasefire between India and Pakistan.
Answering questions, Ghulam Nabi Azad said even on the contentious issue that Article 370 ought to be restored, “adhik tar partyian (most parties)” said the matter is now pending before the Supreme Court and that a decision should first come from the apex court.
However, sources said while former CM and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti tried to raise the issue of Article 370, senior political leader Muzaffar Beigh (once her party colleague and now with People’s Conference) interrupted her.
But Farooq Abdullah, the National Conference Party stalwart, also raised the Article 370 issue.
Before Prime Minister making his speech, Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke and in his observation, Mr. Shah said, “we are committed to give full-fledged statehood”.
The government side made a strong pitch for early completion of the delimitation process.
“Mr. Shah said the government is committed for full statehood and also the early election,” Azad said.
The Congress has emphasized five points for a road map and insisted most discussions revolved around these issues.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh said in his speech Prime Minister underlined the need for “all-round” development with people’s participation at the grassroots level.
National Conference leader and former CM, Omar Abdullah said, “There should be full statehood and civil service should get back the J&K cadre”.
However, the NC leader the “delimitation” issue must be re-looked at.
“Both the Prime Minister and the Home Minister said they want early completion of elections and statehood,” Omar Abdullah said adding, “Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said but statehood must be restored as a first step to election”.
“The whole purpose of Aug 5, 2019, was to united Kashmir with India…But delimitation exercise goes against this,” the National Conference leader said.
Answering questions, Omar Abullah said, “ek meeting se na Dil ki doori na Delhi ki doori khatam hogi (One meeting cannot bridge the guld between hearts and of Kashmir with New Delhi)”.
PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti also said later the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere but she contradicted other leaders on the issue of Article 370.
Both Ghulam Nabi Azad and Omar Abdullah spoke about the Supreme Court hearing the matter about Article 370, but the PDP leader said her party will continue ‘struggle’ to get it back peacefully.
“But people of J&K are unhappy because of the Aug 5, 2019 decision. People there do not accept the manner Article 370 was abrogated. We will continue to work and struggle peacefully for bringing back the Article. It was given not by Pakistan. But Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel had given the Act,” she said.