PAGD decides to attend all-party meet with PM

Alliance stand clear, have no fixed agenda: Farooq  
Will seek release of political prisoners: Mehbooba
Will demand what was rightfully ours: Tarigami
No compromise on Article 370 and Article 35 A : Muzaffar Shah
Congress to attend meeting 

Srinagar, June 22:  Without spelling out the demand for restoration of Article 370, Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) Tuesday said that they would attend an all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on June 24 “without any fixed agenda”.

Talking with media after concluding the meeting of the Alliance at his residence, PAGD Chairman and National Conference (NC) President Dr. Farooq Abdullah said that all the invitees would attend the all-party meet to put forth their point of view on Jammu and Kashmir before the Prime Minister.

“Since New Delhi has invited leaders individually, we have decided that all those invited will attend the meeting,” Abdullah said. “We will brief the Prime Minister and Home Minister about the situation of Kashmir and will apprise the media about the same after the meeting.”

Abdullah, the three-time chief minister, said that the  agenda of the PAGD  remains the same and that they will put forth the same in the meeting with PM Modi.

“Our stand is clear and all of you know what our stand is. There is no fixed agenda for the meeting. We can talk about any and every issue in the meeting,” Abdullah said.

The Government of India (GoI) has invited all regional parties from Jammu and Kashmir for a meeting on June 24 in New Delhi.  The meeting is likely to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his official residence.

As many as 14 leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, including four former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti – of the erstwhile state are among the invitees.  

The meeting is the first outreach from the GoI to the mainstream political leaders who were detained  for over a year after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019, and division of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti  said the PAGD came together to talk about “what has been taken from us”.

“It is wrong, illegal and unconstitutional. Till you restore it, you cannot bring peace to the region,” she said.

Mehbooba said that they would demand the release of political prisoners and shifting them from various Indian prisons to JK.

“It would have been better to build some Confidence Building Measure (CBM) like releasing political prisoners during Covid pandemic but that didn’t happen,” she said.

However, Mehbooba said she is not against the dialogue.

“Mufti sahib has always advocated dialogue for resolution of issues. We will demand the release of political prisoners as there are many who are ill and are languishing in different jails in Kashmir,” she said.

Mehbooba said there was a suggestion that only Dr Farooq (sahib) would represent PAGD in the PM’s meeting but after a consensus among the members, it was decided that all those who have been invited would travel to New Delhi.

PAGD spokesperson and CPI (M) leader M Y Tarigami said that they will not ask for stars in the PM’s meeting, but would demand “what was rightfully ours”.

“I want to assure our people that we will represent their aspirations. We will pitch hard for the restoration of what was ours,” Tarigami said, without mentioning the restoration of Article 370.

Tarigami said that they won’t sign on the PM’s agenda but would hear him out.

“We will hear what the PM has to say. We will agree if it will be in the interest of people, and, if not we will categorically say no to him,” Tarigami said.

Awami National Conference vice-president Muzaffar Shah while speaking on the occasion said, “There will be no compromise on Article 370 and Article 35 A.”

Meanwhile, the Congress has also decided to participate in an all-party meeting with the Prime Minister on 24.

The party on Tuesday held a virtual high-level meeting chaired by Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

“In the meeting it was decided to participate in the scheduled all-party meeting on 24th,” JKPCC chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said.

The meeting was attended by former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, senior Congress leader Dr Karan Singh, P Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Rajni Patil, JKPCC President G A Mir and Tariq Hameed Karra.

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