The former Chief Minister Jammu and Kashmir (Indian Occupied Kashmir) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti has said that talks with Pakistan was part of the agenda of alliance, her party entered into with ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2015; however, the latter defied the bilateral agreement.
In an exclusive interview with India Today’s Rajdeep Sardesai, Mehbooba Mufti said that they want the political and dialogue process to flourish and let them be accorded a chance for perpetual peace in the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
Mehbooba Mufti said that when her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed formed an alliance with the BJP in Kashmir Valley, both sides agreed to status quo on Article 370, revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), holding dialogue with Pakistan, dialogue with Hurriyat leaders & separatists, opening of new routes, and withdrawal of India army from civilian areas.
However, she added that the BJP infringed the agreement and eventually they parted away. She also ruled out a fresh alliance with the BJP in the upcoming 17th Lok Sabha elections.
Mehbooba Mufti said that when the former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Pakistan in 2004 and took assurance from the then Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf with regard to stopping infiltration into J&K, the militancy abated in the valley. Therefore, she maintained that the dialogue is the only way to resolve their bilateral issues.
The president PDP also termed the Indian claim of killing terrorists in Balakot airstrike absurd, saying that as per the TV visuals, merely a few trees were damaged in the strike and no concrete evidence was produced yet to vindicate the claim.
In response to the statement of the President BJP Amit Shah in which he had said that by 2020, Article 370 and Article 35A would be repealed, Mehbooba Mufti cautioned the BJP against resorting to such initiative, and said that if Article 370 and Article 35A are repealed, Jammu and Kashmir’s relation with India will become illegitimate and India will became an occupational force in J&K like Israel is in Gaza.
“I want to remind them that Jammu and Kashmir is a Muslim majority state. It’s not like Bihar or UP. There were certain conditions under the Indian Constitution that was guaranteed on us (at the time of Kashmir’s accession to India). We were guaranteed Article 370, which give J&K special status, separate Constitution, flag,” she said.
Mehbooba Mufti said that we chose India over Pakistan due to certain pre-conditions such as Article 370 and Article 35A. If those pre-conditions are no longer met, their coexistence relation with India will cease to exist.