Gupkar alliance agrees to attend PM’s meet with all parties on J&K

SRINAGAR: The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on Tuesday accepted the Union home ministry’s invitation to an all-party dialogue on J&K with PM Narendra Modi in Delhi on Thursday, saying it would use the opportunity to pitch hard for restoration of “what was ours and what can remain ours”. “There will be no compromise on Articles 370 and 35A,”

The decision also ended speculation about whether ex-CM Mehbooba Mufti, whose PDP is part of the alliance, would join the talks or depute someone to represent the party. In a joint presser following a meet at NC chief Farooq Abdullah’s residence, the constituents of the alliance said they would also seek the release of all political detainees and the return of J&K prisoners lodged in different jails.

“Our stand is clear, and all of you know what our stand is. Since New Delhi has invited the leaders individually, we have decided that all those invited will attend the meeting and put forth their points on J&K,” Farooq said.

He claimed there was no fixed agenda for the meeting. “We can talk on any issue.”

PDP chief Mehbooba said “there was a suggestion that only Farooq Abdullah would represent PAGD in the June 24 meeting, but now there is a consensus that all those who have been invited will go.”

“We are not against dialogue,” she said. “My late father Mufti Muhammad Sayeed always advocated dialogue for resolution of issues. I believe New Delhi should have released all political prisoners to create an atmosphere for talks, but it didn’t.”

Amid initial reports about Mehbooba being reluctant to attend the meeting with the PM, the J&K administration on Sunday freed two senior PDP functionaries — her uncle Sartaj Madni and former minister Naeem Akhtar — from long periods of detention and house arrest respectively. “Now, we will demand the release of all political prisoners as there are many who have taken ill in jails,” Mehbooba said.

CPM’s Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said the Gupkar alliance’s focus was on representing the aspirations of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. “We are not going there to ask for the stars. Whatever is possible within the Indian Constitution is what we are going to seek,” the alliance’s new chief spokesperson said.

Awami National Conference vice-president Muzaffar Shah said the delegation wouldn’t shy away from broaching the topic of restoration of J&K’s special status, which was the alliance’s primary goal when it was formed last year. “There will be no compromise on Articles 370 and 35A,” he said.

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