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Kashmir: As India-Pakistan tensions grow, Mehbooba Mufti’s political appeal shrinks

As tensions between India and Pakistan refuse to die down and terrorism recaptures centre-stage with a sudden uptick in militant attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, the state’s beleaguered chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, is finding her political appeal losing relevance with every passing day.

The criticism was already mounting in the Valley on Mehbooba’s PDP-BJP coalition government for launching one of the worst crackdowns on protesters with more than 8,000 — including minors — behind bars, and many of them slapped with the draconian Public Safety Act.

File image of Mehbooba Mufti. AFP

File image of Mehbooba Mufti. AFP

While the crackdown brought some semblance of normalcy on the streets and the situation seemed to be limping back to normalcy, the worst crises in years started unfolding on the de facto border between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir. Following the Uri attack and the ‘surgical strikes’, the intensity of clashes between armies of the two countries has grown ferociously. Mehbooba’s Peoples Democratic Party is a strong votary of a sustainable and meaningful dialogue between the two countries but there are few takers for peace on the subcontinent today.

The party which wants to be seen as a “bridge of peace” between the two nuclear armed countries, has, despite being in power in an alliance with the BJP, failed to convince the Central government to initiate a meaningful dialogue with the separatists, who are spearheading the ongoing agitation in the Valley.

On Thursday, Mehbooba once again reiterated that the people in Kashmir have been the biggest beneficiaries of the peace process between India and Pakistan and also worst victims of hostility between the two countries. “I hope the national leadership, especially the prime minister, will continue to spearhead the movement for peace and reconciliation started by him in spite of the unfortunate disruptions in the follow up and attempts to derail it”, she said.

Mehbooba recently met senior cabinet ministers of the BJP in New Delhi, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and she spoke of the need to initiate ‘confidence building measures’ for the bruised Valley and a dialogue with Pakistan. But the attack on Nagrota army base leaves New Delhi with little choice but to further freeze any engagement with Pakistan. That, Mehbooba knows, is a problem which will reflect poorly on her political beliefs.

When Mehbooba’s late father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, became the chief minister of the state for the first time in 2002, he galvanised support for some historic measures, like the opening of cross-LoC travel and trade, which significantly eased tensions between Delhi and Islamabad. He launched a policy of ‘healing touch’ in the state which in turn benefited his core political constituency.

However, since she took over the reins of the state after Sayeed’s sudden demise, Mehbooba has been battling crisis after crisis in Kashmir that threatened to rip the social fabric of the state and also polarised the communal divisions between Muslim majority Kashmir and Hindu-dominated Jammu.

With the Kashmir Valley on boil following the killing of Burhan Wani and the hostilities between India and Pakistan likely to increase in the coming days, it is the PDP that will have to pay the cost in the long run. A party which promised self-rule for the divided Kashmir is today lost in translation; its political agenda lying in tatters. An unyielding partner, the BJP, is only making matters worse.

First Published On : Dec 2, 2016 10:15 IST

Dialogue, not ‘warmongering’ is PDP’s agenda: Mehbooba Mufti

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Saturday the “emerging scenario” in the state can be addressed best by following the vision of late CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, asserting that her party’s agenda has always been dialogue and discourse and not “warmongering”.”My party’s agenda has always been dialogue and discourse and not warmongering. The emerging scenario in Jammu & Kashmir and the subcontinent can be addressed best by executing and following the vision of late Mufti sahib,” she said.Addressing a meeting of party’s district and zonal presidents of Jammu province here yesterday, she said the situation of past few months in the state and the consequent acrimonious relations between India and Pakistan could be resolved by implementing the political philosophy of ex-J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.She reminded the delegates that since its inception in 1999, the party has always stood for dialogue, peace and harmonious relations between India and Pakistan. Wars have nowhere in the present world solved any problem, rather compounded them only, she added.She said the problems being faced by the people of border areas in the state also underscore the need for pushing for a dialogue to resolve issues and maintain peaceful relations.Terming the formation of PDP as a boon for the people of the State, she said the objective of late Mufti Sahib was to provide J&K people a platform from where they could express themselves freely. She said democracy in J&K couldn’t flourish earlier as people did not have such a platform which resulted in countless miseries to them. Terming the party as a ‘sacred trust’ of the late leader, Mehbooba exhorted upon the functionaries to strengthen the party at grassroots to let the state’s people reap the benefits of this political platform

Mehbooba Mufti passes first test of her alliance with BJP

The Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP-BJP alliance received the first stamp of approval from the people when the chief minister won the assembly bypoll from the Anantnag constituency with a record margin.Mehbooba defeated her nearest rival Hilal Ahmad Shah of Congress by a margin of 12,085 votes. Mehbooba polled 17,701 votes while Shah got 5,616 votes. National Conference candidate Iftikhar Hussain Misger finished third with 2,811 votes.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>What made Mehbooba’s victory sweeter was the margin of votes. Her father late Mufti Mohommad Sayeed had defeated Shah by 6,000 votes from the same constituency in 2014 assembly polls.”I am thankful to the people especially women, young and old, that they have reposed faith in me like the way they trusted Mufti Sahab. I pray to Allah to give me strength so that I can live up to the expectations of the people,” said Mehbooba.The June 22 byelection in the Anantnag assembly was necessitated with the demise of Mufti Mohommad Sayeed on January 7. Under the Constitution, byelections have to be held within the six months after the demise of the sitting MLA.Mehbooba, who is also People’s Democratic Party’s Lok Sabha member from Anantnag constituency, was trying her luck for the first time from Anantnag assembly segment which was represented by her late father twice.With the victory in Anantnag, Mehbooba has maintained her record of not losing any election from her traditional bastion of south Kashmir either for the Assembly or Parliament. She, however, has lost once to National Conference leader Omar Abdullah in 1999 when she contested against him from the Srinagar parliamentary seat.Mehbooba’s victory, however, was marred by the allegations of rigging and tampering with the EVMs by the opposition parties. Congress candidate Hilal Shah alleged that the EVMS were tampered with and the signatures were not matching on the machines.”All the EVMs were unsealed. The signatures we had done in the polling booths were not matching with the machines. These were totally different machines,” said Shah.The Congress candidate later gave a written complaint to the returning officer about the alleged malpractices in the elections. “We have given written complaint to the returning officer. Deputy commissioner threatened to send people behind bars when the agents protested against the malpractices. Now, we will be knocking the doors of the court because the results were nothing but fraud and cheating,” said Shah.Deputy commissioner Anantnag Syed Abid Rashid Shah denied the allegations saying the protestors created ruckus and tried to damage to the EVMs.”We had it (EVMs) elaborately checked. There was no tampering. EVMs cannot be tampered with unless it is visible. They created a commotion. I told them to behave because they tried to damage the EVMs also. They created huge ruckus,” he told dna.The results also sparked twitter war between PDP and the National Conference. “Thanks to the whole administration, free government ration & when that didn’t work the tampered EVM’s. Congratulations!” tweeted Tanvir Sadiq, senior NC leader and close aide of former chief minister Omar Abdullah.PDP was quick to hit back with `grapes are sour’ jibe to silence Sadiq. “Typical ‘Grapes are sour’. You ignored Anantnag for six decades hence people ditched your party long back”, tweeted the PDP.Allegations and counter allegations apart, celebrations broke out in Anantnag after Mehbooba won the polls. PDP workers burst crackers and took out a victory march outside the counting hall shouting slogans in favour of Mehbooba and the party.

Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti wins Anantnag bypoll with over 12,000 votes

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti won the Anantnag bypoll with more than 12,000 votes beating Congress and National Conference candidates.After the four rounds, Mehbooba had polled 8,549 votes followed by Hilal Ahmad Shah of Congress (2,752) and Iftikhar Misger of National Conference (9,526), District Election Authorities said. Mehbooba is among eight candidates in the bypoll for Anantnag Assembly seat which was necessitated due to death of incumbent MLA and then chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7 this year. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The by-election in Anantnag took place following the death of the then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who represented the constituency in the 87-member legislative house. Sayeed passed away in New Delhi on 7 January after a brief illness. Mehbooba assumed office after being sworn in as the Chief Minister of the PDP-BJP coalition government on April 4.Polling in the constituency was held on June 22 during which over 28,000 of the 84,000 voters exercised their franchise. The counting of votes was briefly suspended following protests by the Congress candidate who alleged that EVMs could have been tampered with in the strong room. An official spokesman of the Congress said the party has demanded deferment of counting in Anantnag, “as the EVMs were found without seal”.Accusing the state and the Central governments of managing lead in favour of Mehbooba Mufti, the spokesman said Congress has asked the Election authorities to stop the counting immediately. “The party strongly urges upon the Election Commission of India to depute observers in the counting hall to ascertain the factual position,” he added.

Anantnag bypoll results: Mehbooba Mufti leads by 1,300 votes; counting resumes after Congress alleges EVMs changed

The counting of votes for South Kashmir’s Anantnag assembly constituency, where Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti contesting, began on Saturday morning. In the first round of counting of ballots so far the PDP has scored three votes, Congress one and NOTA one. Mufti is leading in the first round of Anantnag by-election counting. Mufti was leading by over 1300 votes after the first round of counting in the bypoll to Anantnag Assembly constituency. After the first round, Mehbooba had polled 1826 votes followed by Hilal Ahmad Shah of Congress (516) and Iftikhar Misger of National Conference (316), District Election Authorities said. Mehbooba is among eight candidates in the bypoll for Anantnag Assembly seat which was necessitated due to death of incumbent MLA and then chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7 this year. Polling in the constituency was held on June 22 during which over 28,000 of the 84,000 voters exercised their franchise.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hilal Shah has created a ruckus in counting hall, saying that all EVMs have been changed, are without labels. The counting for the bypoll to Anantnag Assembly seat of Jammu and Kashmir was today suspended after Congress candidate Hilal Ahmad Shah alleged that the EVMs have been tampered with.The counting was stopped after Shah and his agents walked out of the counting hall, officials said. They said Shah alleged that some EVMs were not carrying the mandatory seal and might have been changed in the process to favour Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is a candidate from the seat.However, the counting was resumed later.Eight candidates, including Mehbooba Mufti of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Hilal Ahmad Shah of the Congress and Iftikhar Hussain Misgar of the National Conference are in the fray.The by-election in Anantnag took place following the death of the then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who represented the constituency in the 87-member legislative house. Sayeed passed away in New Delhi on 7 January after a brief illness. Mehbooba assumed office after being sworn in as the Chief Minister of the PDP-BJP coalition government on April 4.Mehbooba, who is not member of any of the House, is presently MP from south Kashmir Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency in Parliament. With agency inputs.

Yasin Malik arrested en-route Anantnag

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik, who was en-route Anantnag for addressing an election boycott rally, has been arrested by the police.The separatists have called for boycotting the upcoming by-elections in Anantnag constituency from where Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is contesting. Asserting that this election process is against the interests of Kashmiris, Malik had earlier urged the people to keep away from by-polls to be held in holy month of Ramadan.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The seat was left vacant after the death of former chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.

First popularity test for Mehbooba Mufti after joining hands with BJP

Ending suspense, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has finally decided to step into her late father’s shoes and contest the assembly polls from Anantnag constituency, which had fallen vacant after the demise of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7.It will be the first popularity test for Mehbooba after she joined hands with BJP after playing hard ball for two-and-a-half months in a bid to renegotiate the terms of agenda of alliance and pressure BJP-led Centre to announce some confidence- building measures.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mehbooba, who is currently People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Lok Sabha member from Anantnag, is filing her nomination papers on Wednesday. The bye-polls for the constituency will be held on June 19.This time the BJP has decided not to field any candidate against Mehbooba from Anantnag. It will be for the first time when there will be a sort of pre-poll arrangement between the PDP and BJP in the state.Last time, BJP had fielded Mohammad Rafiq Wani against late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in Anantnag constituency and he had bagged 1,275 votes.”We will not field any candidate against Mehbooba Mufti. We will extend all our support to the honourable chief minister in the polls. She will secure the highest number of votes in this election,” Khalid Jehangir, spokesman of BJP for Kashmir, told dna.However, Congress candidate Hilal Ahmad Shah is giving a tough contest to Mehbooba from Anantnag constituency. Shah had lost to her father by just 6000 votes in 2014 assembly elections.This time Shah is trying his luck against Mufti’s daughter in the same constituency. Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had bagged 16,983 votes while Shah had got 10,955 votes in 2014 assembly elections.”This time Mehbooba will lose her deposit. People are very angry because of her handshake with BJP and RSS. People want to teach them a lesson in a democratic manner. I have been living amongst people all through and I can see the wave against Mehbooba and her party,” Shah told dna.National Conference (NC), which had finished third by bagging 2,403 votes in 2014, has again fielded Iftikhar Hussain Misger against Mehbooba in Anantnag. Misger was last-minute entry in 2014 since NC candidate Mehboob Beg had defected to PDP and supported Mufti Mohommad Sayeed.”It is a one sided contest and Mehbooba Ji will win with the biggest margin. It is a cakewalk for her. There is nobody who can defeat her in Anantnag”, said Mehboob Beg, chief spokesman of PDP.Speculations are also rife that Mehbooba’s brother Mufti Tasaduq Hussain may contest the Lok Sabha polls from Anantnag constituency after his sister is elected to assembly. “Party will decide who will be the candidate for Anantnag parliamentary polls,” said Beg.

Anantnag bypoll: Mehbooba Mufti seeks postponement; Congress terms it ‘big conspiracy’

Congress on Friday termed as a “big conspiracy” the deferment of bypoll to Anantnag Assembly seat and said the Election Commission should not have taken such a unilateral decision at the behest of the state government which was the “biggest setback” to the democratic process.”The way the RSS-backed BJP has started vandalising the democratic institutions, be it educational institutions, universities or the professional institutions and even the elected houses, they have not learnt any lesson from the murder of democracy in Arunachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand. I see the same pattern here that the people of the Valley are being deprived of their democratic rights and this can be a part of a big conspiracy,” state Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir told reporters here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Noting that the reason given for the deferment of the bypoll is that the law and order situation is not good in the state, he said, “but the situation is not so bad that the peoples’ representation be taken away.”The Anantnag Assembly constituency was scheduled to go to polls on May 16 to fill the vacancy created by the demise of former Chief Minister and MLA Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Mehboob, who succeeded her late father Sayeed as Chief Minister, is a Lok Sabha member from Anantnag and was expected to contest for the Assembly seat.Mir said it was not about elections or who will win or lose but the question was about giving people a representation in the Assembly. “Situation in 2008 was not good after the Amarnath land row, but the elections happened and people participated in large numbers. In the aftermath of September 2014 floods, the position was worse than a law and order situation but it was these captains on the front who said nothing doing, elections should take place,” Mir said.The JKPCC president said the Election Commission should not have taken the decision to defer the bypoll. Terming it as “the biggest setback to democratic process and the voting right of the people”, he said, “at whose behest did it (EC) take the decision? Who gave such a feedback because EC cannot notify polls till the state machinery does not write to it? After announcing the schedule, how can the EC take a unilateral decision?”He said the EC should have sent its representative to talk to other stakeholders in Kashmir to take their view. “But this process was not undertaken either before announcing the poll or before deferring it,” he added.Mir said Mehbooba Mufti had sought the postponement as she felt she may not be successful in the election. “We understand that Mehbooba has many ways to remain Chief Minister but we thought she would face the people to get elected to the sacred house to remain on the chair. But what we can smell is that she thinks that she does not need people as there are other ways to remain in power,” he said.

Deliberate attempt to destabilise Kashmir’s economy: PDP leader

Srinagar: With Kashmir witnessing fresh unrest, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party on Saturday said there seems to be a deliberate and sinister attempt by vested interests to destabilise and subvert the local economy by fuelling violence.

PDP youth president Waheed Para, who was advisor to former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, said all right-thinking people must close their ranks to prevent such vested interests from carrying out their nefarious designs.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

There seems to be a deliberate and sinister attempt by certain vested interests to keep the vicious cycle of violence going on in Kashmir and destabilise and subvert the local economy, he said in a statement.

“We as Kashmiris have to ponder over the pattern of similar violent incidents that have always take place in almost in an akin manner whenever a new government assumes office in the State and at the onset of the tourist season in Kashmir,” the PDP leader said.

Para has been at the centre of a controversy as he reportedly blamed the youth for attacking an army camp that led to death of one person and injuries to three others in Nathnusa area of Kupwara yesterday.

Para, however, denied the statement attributed to him.

“I only said that nothing could justify killing of civilians and we should expect justice to the families as the Army has already ordered a probe which needs to be taken to the logical conclusion to restore people’s confidence,” he said.

Para urged youth to maintain calm and not to get provoked into such actions which only lead to a vicious cycle of death and destruction.

“We have already lost a generation of our youth to the conflict and can’t afford another generation to fall prey to this vicious circle of violence,” he said.

Para said such tragic incidents only undermine the government’s efforts to restore peace in the State which has undergone a “gory era of death and destruction” for the past more than two decades.

Five persons were killed in the unrest that began on Tuesday following allegations of molestation of a girl in Handwara.

Here’s all you need to know about Jammu and Kashmir’s CM Mehbooba Mufti

A leader with grassroots-level popularity, Mehbooba Mufti turned Peoples Democratic Party into a regional force and emerged from the shadow of her illustrious father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to head Jammu and Kashmir, the first woman Chief Minister of the state.A law graduate, 56-year-old Mehbooba took a plunge into mainstream politics of the state in 1996 by joining Congress, along with her father, at a time when militancy was at its peak.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She is credited with growth of the PDP with some observers arguing that she outshone her father in connecting with the common people, especially the youths.She was also accused of playing the soft-separatist card.PDP chose the green colour for the party flag and adopted Pen- Inkpot election symbol of the Muslim United Front (MUF) of 1987, but these moves found some resonances on the ground among the Kashmir residents.Heading a PDP-BJP government formed with an alliance between two idealogical extremes, Mehbooba faces a challenging task ahead as she will strive to carry forward her father’s ‘healing touch’ legacy.A mother of two daughters, she assumed an image of a fiery leader and won her first Assembly election as a Congress candidate from her home segment of Bijbehara.She then played a key role in her father’s victory as Congress candidate in Lok Sabha elections of 1998 when he defeated National Conference’s Mohammad Yousuf Taing from south Kashmir.As Sayeed felt an urge to do something for return of peace to Kashmir, Mehbooba was by his side and the father-daughter duo floated their regional party – the PDP – in 1999.They took along some leaders disgruntled with National Conference and many from Congress, a party where Sayeed spent most of his six-decade political career.From there, Mehbooba took on the responsibility of building the new party.Mehbooba used to visit the homes of those killed in militancy-related violence and immediately struck a chord with the people, especially women, often lending them a shoulder to cry on.In the 2002 Assembly polls, termed as watershed in the state, PDP bagged 16 seats – most of them from south where Mehbooba had extensively campaigned and consolidated the support for her party and her father was sworn-in as the chief minister with the support of his former party Congress.Two years later, Mehbooba contested Parliamentary polls from south Kashmir and won her first Lok Sabha election.She contested Lok Sabha elections from Srinagar in 1999 but was defeated by her bete noire Omar Abdullah. When Amarnath land row engulfed the state, Mehbooba played an important role in persuading her father to pull out from the coalition government with Congress headed by Ghulam Nabi Azad.In 2008 assembly elections, she contested and won from Wachi segment of Shopian district of south Kashmir. Her party increased the tally to 21 seats but preferred to stay in the opposition.It was the National Conference which formed a coalition government with Congress, which was still smarting from the PDP ‘betrayal’ following the Amarnath land row.Mehbooba consolidated her party’s support base in the years spent in opposition, highlighting the alleged failures of the NC-led coalition government. She was considered a very active Opposition leader, the result of which was seen in 2014 Lok Sabha elections as the party won all the three seats in the Valley.Months later, PDP emerged as the single largest party in the Assembly elections bagging 28 seats, paving the way for her father to become Chief Minister for the second time.In March 2015, after months of hectic negotiations, the party formed government in Jammu and Kashmir in alliance with BJP.Although Mehbooba kept a low profile post government formation, she assumed a more central role after reports of Sayeed’s ill health surfaced. She was seen by her father’s side at most public functions.As Sayeed’s health deteriorated, there began speculation about a change of guard in the party and credence to these speculation was given by Sayeed himself when he hinted that his daughter could take over the reins — not by virtue of being his daughter but by her hard work.Following Sayeed’s death on January 7, the state was put under Governor’s Rule and the Assembly was kept in suspended animation on January 8.PDP then sought assurances on a timeframe for implementation of the Agenda of Alliance from the Centre before renewing its alliance with BJP for government formation.

Jammu and Kashmir: PDP elects Mehbooba Mufti as leader of legislative party, declared CM candidate

The decks are cleared for Mehbooba Mufti to become the first woman CM of Jammu and Kashmir. Mehbooba was unanimously elected as leader of the PDP legislative party. She will be meeting the governor on Friday to expedite the process of government formation. Mehbooba Mufti was officially declared Chief Ministerial candidate by PDP on Thursday. The PDP-BJP coalition, after 10 months rule from March 2015 to January, ran into rough weather following the death of then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7, after which the state came under Governor’s rule. Since then, the PDP leadership has sought confidence building measures and assurances on the implementation of the already agreed Agenda for Alliance from the Centre for forming the government again.Hopes for government formation were revived after Mehbooba met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on Tuesday. She termed the meeting as “positive”, saying she was “satisfied” with the discussions with the Prime Minister. However Ram Madhav had said that BJP will not yield to any fresh demands from PDP. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>PDP President Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday visited her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s grave in Bijbehara in south Kashmir, hours before the meeting. With agency inputs

BJP, PDP manage to avoid a divorce

The estranged allies are all set for a reunion, with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) warming up to each other after a 30-minute meeting between Mehbooba Mufti and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A formal announcement on the decision on government formation in Jammu and Kashmir will be made by the PDP chief in Srinagar on Thursday at a meeting of the PDP legislature party. The MLAs have to choose Mehbooba as leader, in place of her late father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who died in January.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Many analysts are crediting finance minister Arun Jaitley’s Sunday comment in which he said the BJP remains committed to the “agenda for governance” with breaking the deadlock. However, insiders say behind-the-scene actions of various players – most notably J&K Governor N N Vohra and Army brass – also played a part, stressing urgency to put in place a civilian face in the saddle, before the summers, when the capital shifts to Srinagar.Vohra reportedly spoke to Mehbooba and then briefed the PM.Mehbooba was also under pressure because of rumours floating in Srinagar that her PDP may split as they would not like the prospect of mid-term polls so soon. The J&K assembly constituted in January last year has a tenure of six years unlike all other state assemblies constituted for five years. The PDP’s rival National Conference leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah called on the Governor in Srinagar on Monday to press for fresh elections to end the stalemate created by the differences between the PDP and the BJP on formation of the government.After meeting the PM, Mehbooba told reporters that she was “very satisfied” as the meeting turned out to be a “very positive and a good meeting.” She put behind the stalemate for the last over two months on the government formation, saying “when you meet the Prime Minister of the country, naturally the solution to the problems faced by the people of Jammu and Kashmir is more clear.”The PMO also posted at noon a photograph of her meeting with the Prime Minister, saying “PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti called on PM.”Modi reportedly broke the ice and touched an emotional chord by praising her late father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and telling her “we must follow the positivity of Mufti Saheb.”On Ram Madhav’s statement that the BJP won’t accept any new demands from its erstwhile coalition partner, sources said Mehbooba assured the PM that her party had no new conditions and all that she wanted were timelines for implementation of the “agenda for governance” keeping in mind people’s sentiments in the Kashmir valley and credibility of the chief minister’s office. The reference was to discordant notes struck by BJP ministers in the Cabinet. They said the PM assured her support on every initiative aimed at bringing development and peace. Prime Minister has told her to remain in direct touch with him on any issue.They said the new government will be also based on the “agenda for governance” thrashed out by the two parties before Mufti Mohammad Sayeed took over as CM. The PDP president refused to give a date for taking oath as the CM. She said she was flying back to the state to brief her party MLAs. “I had been authorised by the party MLAs to take a decision. I have convened a meeting on Thursday and after that we will announce the future course of action.”Pressed again, she said: “As I said I will talk to my MLAs because that is the forum. This is not the place. There is a particular place to make such announcements. I will go back to Srinagar and take the next step.”Earlier as well PDP had raised the issues of BJP members taking recourse to the court for diluting issues that are otherwise part of the agenda of alliance. Informally the party was conveyed that since BJP has its own agenda, it will have to engage its support base by taking recourse to such activities. But now it seems, she has been assured at the highest level that BJP will stick to the coalition dharma and avoid raking up issue that have the potential of vitiating atmosphere in the stateThis was Mehbooba’s second visit to Delhi in five days after her talks with BJP president Amit Shah on Thursday failed to make any headway triggering speculation that the two parties could be making renewed efforts to reach out to each other in a bid to break the prolonged impasse. Mehbooba had a meeting on Monday morning with her senior party colleagues, including former Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu, during which final touches were given for the meeting with the prime minister, sources said.

Jammu and Kashmir: Congress asks Mehbooba Mufti to clarify new CBMs agreed upon with BJP

Congress on Tuesday hit out at PDP, calling the delay in government formation in J-K an attempt by the party to “test waters” in the Valley, and asked Mehbooba Mufti to clarify what “new” confidence building measures (CBM) have been agreed upon between PDP and BJP.”It was all a drama enacted by PDP over the issue of confidence building measures as a condition before BJP, to be taken ahead of government formation. It was aimed to test waters in Kashmir Valley where they have lost their ground,” J&K Congress Chief G A Mir said. He asked PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti to clarify the confidence building measures which have been agreed upon with BJP, over which she had delayed government formation in Jammu and Kashmir for over two months.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”She (Mehbooba Mufti) was instrumental in imposition of Governor’s rule, she owes an explanation to the people of the state as to what new things she has been granted by the BJP-led central government over which she delayed the government formation for two-and-a-half months,” he said. The JKCC leader said that the new government to be formed would be “no different” from the one under Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and the only change will be in chief ministership “BJP has already cleared its stand that PDP will have the chief minister and the government will be formed as per Agenda of Alliance, what new things she has got,” Mir asked. “We will wait and watch for her to speak on what she was promised or granted by the BJP government apart from Agenda of Alliance,” Mir said.He said that BJP also created a drama with their statements that no fresh conditions would be accepted from PDP but ultimately they will be forming the government with PDP along with additional conditions.

J&K govt formation: Meeting with PM Modi ‘very positive’ and ‘good’, says PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti

Deadlock over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir seems to have ended with PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday calling on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a meeting which she described as ‘very positive’ and ‘good’ in addressing issues pertaining to the people of the state.Mehbooba drove to the Prime Minister’s residence this morning barely three days after PDP and BJP had hit a road block with BJP’s chief interlocutor Ram Madhav announcing that his party would not be accepting any fresh demands from its erstwhile ally PDP.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Emerging after a 30-minute-long meeting with the Prime Minister, Mehbooba said she had a “very positive meeting and a good meeting” with him.”We are seeing a stalemate for last two to three months over government formation in the state but today I am satisfied. I am very satisfied,” she told reporters here.To a question whether the stalemate has ended, she said, “When you meet the Prime Minister of the country, naturally the solution to the problems faced by the people of Jammu and Kashmir is more clear”.Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had on Monday asked PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti to make up her mind.PDP with 27 MLAs and BJP with 25 members had formed an alliance on March 1 last year with Mufti Mohammed Sayeed as the Chief Minister. Both the sides had formed an “Agenda of Alliance” which sought to address internal and external dimensions of the state.The PDP had toughened its stance after Sayeed’s demise by seeking concrete plans for the state’s development including handing over of power projects to the state and vacation of land by Army before the coalition could be resumed.Governor’s rule was imposed in the state on January 8 after Mehbooba decided against taking over the reins after her father’s death.(With PTI inputs)

Mehbooba Mufti softens stand over J&K government formation

Amid suspense, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti seemingly softened her stand about the government formation in the restive state.Mehbooba also met the Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra and discussed “political issues and various challenges faced by the state on the developmental and economic fronts”.”I am not rigid. If I feel that the Centre is working for the betterment of the state, then I will not have any objection to form the government. But if it is an exercise just for the sake of government formation or delaying the polls, then I am not for it,” Mehbooba said while addressing party workers in Jammu.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Invoking her late father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s name, PDP president said Mufti’ did not join hands with BJP as party but he saw it as a coalition between the centre and the people of J&K aimed at providing succour to the masses.”At any point of time if I feel the Centre has a room in its heart for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and is ready to fill the framework, which we have made, with the colours, I will have no hesitation in becoming the chief minister of this state. And it would be a matter of honour,” she said.Mehbooba’s apparent softening of stance comes 20 days after BJP’s point man Ram Madhav said the common minimum programme (agenda of alliance) is a comprehensive document and there can neither be any addition or the deletion.Madhav’s remarks came on February 18, a day after he rushed to Srinagar in a special plane to meet PDP president Mehbooba Mufti in a bid to resurrect the alliance that has hit the dead end after the demise of chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7.PDP president later drove to Raj Bhavan and interacted with governor for almost an hour. “In an hour long meeting at the Raj Bhavan today afternoon Governor N.N. Vohra discussed with Ms. Mehbooba Mufti, MP and President PDP, political issues and various challenges faced by the State on the developmental and economic fronts”, said an official spokesman.

After two months of suspense, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti drops hint about alliance with BJP

After two-month suspense, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti dropped hints of going ahead with BJP in government formation, saying she was “not afraid” of criticism over it but wanted the Centre to send out a “signal” that it will do “everything” for the welfare of people of Jammu and Kashmir. She invoked her late father Mufti Sayeed, saying he had “not joined hands with BJP as a party but it was a coalition between the Central government and the people of Jammu and Kashmir” with an aim of benefitting the people of the state.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”For us, the decision taken by my father.., if that aim and that aspiration is fulfilled then I am not afraid if people blame me for going with BJP whether they feel good or bad. If people are benefitted then there is no issue,” Mehbooba said while launching party’s membership drive. “When it came to the benefit of people, my father did not care about the party. He rose above everything and joined hands with BJP for the welfare of the people”, she said.Insisting that she was not an “adamant” lady, she said her party leaders want the formation of the government but she will do that when she feels that the bigger aim was fulfilled. And if the aim of forging (RPT) forging an alliance with BJP is fulfilled, then she has no objection in forming the government, she said. “If I feel that the aim is fulfilled, which is the need of the hour, situation is not normal in Jammu and Kashmir after Mufti’s death. My father did not join hands with BJP as a party. The coalition was between the Central government and the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”If they send such a signal that for the people of Jammu and Kashmir for their welfare they will do everything. It is such a huge country, its treasures would not run empty,” Mehbooba said.She went on to add, “If at any time I feel that they (Centre) have space in their hearts for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and a framework which we have made and they are ready to put colours in that framework, then I do not have any hesitation in becoming Chief Minister of this state would be a matter of honour.”Mehbooba, whose party has 27 MLAs in the 87-member Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, said “if the promises are not fulfilled and the formation of the government means to keep away from the elections for five years, then she was not ready (to become the Chief Minister). “If I feel that these are only hollow promises and nothing will come out of it and that our MLAs would become ministers and we would not have to face elections for 4-5 years, then I am not ready (to form the government),” the PDP chief said.PDP, along with 25-member BJP, ran a coalition government headed by Mufti Sayeed for 10 months before the sudden demise of the then Chief Minister on January 7.The state is currently under Governor’s Rule since January 8 as Mehbooba, seen as successor to her father, did not stake claim for government formation. “You all are important for me. That is why, instead of taking oath, I have come to meet you,” she told her party workers.She said she was not an adamant lady but wants peace in Jammu and Kashmir. “You saw how two young officers lost their lives,” she said apparently referring to the Pampore encounter last month in which two Army Captains were killed while flushing out three terrorists holded up in a government building. “Yesterday an encounter took place and a child who died in it had scored 98 per cent marks. Why did he pick up weapons if he was good in studies? We have to work to make such an environment where these kids don’t take to the gun but work to strengthen this country,” she said.She said her father had a dream of bringing about peace in Jammu and Kashmir to bring an end to the bloodshed. “People are being killed in fake encounters like that of Machil. Hindu, Muslims are being killed. India and Pakistan, the bloodshed which has going on, has to stop. If Wagah border can become a symbol of peace then why not our borders (in J&K)? Why do they remember nationalism when it comes to making borders friendly with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir” she said.She said the aim of her party was to motivate any government in Centre to help set up peace in the state. “Mufti sahib had this confidence that he can change the flow and can open Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route. He had this hope that he can make Vajpayee hold talks with Hurriyat. He always used to think about the people of J&K, welfare of India and the betterment of India and Pakistan”, Mehbooba said.She referred to the arrests made by Pakistan in connection with the Pathankot terror attack and said it was a “major achievement” of the Modi government. “When Mufti joined hands with BJP, his aim was to bring peace between Kashmir and Jammu regions. He used to say that people of Jammu have their own aspirations and that is why they voted for BJP,” the PDP chief said.She said Mufti had joined “a party (BJP) which got such a huge mandate” with the hope that all the works which were left incomplete would be completed, the healing touch policy which PDP started would move ahead, peace would be restored in the state, the state would develop and “the treasury of the country will flow into the state”.Mehbooba said she does not want to be a big leader but her aim was to take forward the aspirations of her father who wanted to showcase Jammu and Kashmir to the whole world as an example of a single Muslim-majority state of India living at peace with the rest of the country.Mufti Sayeed strongly believed in “the idea of India, the idea where Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and all others could co-exist under the umbrella of our democratic set-up. Irrespective of caste, creed or colour, our democracy provides equal right of vote to everybody and at times with one vote you can make a king or break a government,” she said.She said Sayeed was “so impressed with the democratic set-up of India and that is why he followed the path of Indian democracy at the time when people in Kashmir used to raise voice for plebiscite. At that time, it was a sin in Kashmir to talk about Indian democracy.”The PDP chief said “People used to say that Mufti sahib is very good and honest man but he is an Indian. But he followed his path and the time came when the people who were favouring plebiscite for 22 years signed an accord in 1975 and followed the path of democracy”, an apparent reference to late National Conference leader Sheikh Abdullah.She said that Mufti Sayeed used to tell Prime Minister Narendra Modi that there is no alternative to peace with Pakistan and “we felt very good” when he went to Lahore to meet Nawaz Sharif.”Dr Manmohan Singh, I know him personally is a very good and honest man and he too wanted to visit Pakistan but he could not as he did not have the massive mandate which Modi enjoys,” said Mehbooba, whose party earlier had an alliance with Congress.Referring to questions raised by some sections over the “benefits” of Modi’s visit, Mehbooba said, “I must say that today now Pakistan has arrested all the accused who were involved in Pathankot terrorist attack. Did it happen earlier?” Noting that Pakistan has said people involved in such attacks were non-state actors, she said, “May be it is right. If they had control on them, then thousands of their own men would not have been killed daily. But yes as you sow so shall you reap.” She said that “today one of the biggest achievement of Modi is that because of his Pakistan visit the borders are peaceful.”

‘Only time can tell’ says Mehbooba Mufti on government formation in Jammu & Kashmir

Notwithstanding BJP’s optimism, PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday remained ambivalent on progress in talks on government formation, maintaining that she will be on board once she is convinced that she can “fulfill the dreams” of her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for Jammu and Kashmir.”That only time can tell,” was the cryptic response of the PDP president to reporters when they asked her if there was any forward movement in talks with the BJP for government formation in the state.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Just days earlier, BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav had flown to Srinagar and held talks with the PDP chief after which he had said that “both parties are positive” on continuing with the arrangement.Mehbooba, who attended first public function today after Sayeed’s death on January 7, said her visit to Delhi was only related to her duties as a Lok Sabha member.”The parliament session is starting on Feb 23… I am going to attend it. I have asked questions… if the Parliament is allowed to function.”There are issues like JNU, which is unfortunate, Haryana (Jat agitation), we don’t know what will happen in Parliament,” she said.Earlier, addressing the party workers, Mehbooba said coming to power was not her goal.”If we feel, we can fulfill the dreams of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, then only it is worth it. If the situation continues as it is, then my inheritance (the people of the state) is enough for me,” she said.The PDP president said her late father throughout his political career spanning over five decades struggled for the betterment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”Only 12 years of his long political career, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was in power. However, he remained alive (in politics) due to the support of the people.”He wanted to keep the state united and resolve the issues they faced,” she said.Recalling the last few days of her father, Mehbooba said despite the advice of doctors, he continued to work and was concerned about the people of the state.”Even in the hospital, he asked me if the money for flood victims has been released (by the Centre), whether the work on additional accommodation for Kashmiri Pandits at Sheikhpura had been started. .. when I told him that Prime Minister Modi had visited Pakistan,” he just smiled.”He did not sacrifice his life so that I can get the chair. He sacrificed his life for you,” Mehbooba, choking on her words, said.On Sayeed’s decision to ally with BJP, the PDP president said her father was ready for electoral loss but wanted to take the people of the state out of this uncertainty.”He was of the belief that Modiji with such a huge mandate can take the state out of its troubles if he is able to convince him about the need for India-Pakistan friendship and resolution of outstanding issues,” she said.Mehbooba said Sayeed wanted Jammu and Kashmir to become a bridge between India and Pakistan.

BJP’s point man meets Mehbooba Mufti to break logjam over government formation

Hectic parleys have started between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and BJP to break stalemate over the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir.BJP’s point man Ram Madhav was rushed to Srinagar in a special plane on Wednesday evening to meet PDP president Mehbooba Mufti in a bid to resurrect the alliance that has hit the dead end after the demise of chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Both parties had kept the meeting confidential until former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah bare it all on the twitter tipping off the media about the `most kept secret’. “Unscheduled flight VTJSG just landed in Srinagar after normal operation hours. Something is cooking with the PDP-BJP government formation”, Omar tweeted.Ram straight away drove to Mehbooba’s Gupkar residence and held one hour meeting with her to discuss the government formation. Ram did not speak to media and rushed to the airport to fly back to Delhi in a special plane.Sources said Ram had come with a message from BJP top brass to re-stitch the alliance and reassure Mehbooba that the party is committed to agenda of alliance formed after two months of hectic negotiations last year which paved the way for first ever PDP-BJP government headed by late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.Mehbooba Mufti has been demanding certain Jammu and Kashmir-specific confidence building measures (CBMs) to be taken by the Modi government in order to create a positive environment that boosts confidence and trust.PDP has been demanding vacating of private lands from the occupation of the security forces, handing over the NHPC run power projects to state government, engaging separatists in talks and renegotiating the economic package to give more compensation to the flood hit people of the state.Even as the talks are on to break the stalemate, the PDP is gearing up for massive membership drive in the state. PDP is planning a grand workers convention in Srinagar on Sunday which will be presided over by Mehbooba”The convention will through open the membership drive in the state with an objective to expand the party base. All leaders exuded confidence that convention at Srinagar will give a desired flip to party activity and will take the party’s massage to gross roots,” said a PDP spokesman.

Jammu and Kashmir: Talks on with PDP, says Ram Madhav

Amid continuing stalemate over the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav on Monday said talks between BJP and PDP are going on.”We are communicating with each other. It is not that communication between us has broken down,” Madhav, who had played a key role in forging the alliance, said. BJP sources sounded hopeful of resurrecting the alliance that ruled the state for over 10 months under Mufti Mohammad Sayeed but the two parties have been unable to come together after his daughter Mehbooba Mufti took over PDP following his death.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asked about new conditions put forth by PDP for the resumption of alliance, they said BJP had shared its views too with the regional party and talks were continuing. PDP is believed to be asking the central government to make some concessions on its Kashmir-centric political agenda, including relaxation in controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, a demand the BJP has rejected in the past.PDP is also pushing for more financial assistance to the state from the Centre. The regional party apprehends that its alliance with BJP has cost it some popular support and it can recover the lost ground only by pushing its core agenda.

BJP hits back after Congress closes racks with other parties on JNU

As controversy surrounding crackdown on students assumed bigger political proportions with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi closing ranks with leaders of Left, JDU, RJD and AAP to attack Modi government, the BJP hit back accusing him of supporting “anti-national” forces and speaking the voice of LeT founder and terrorist Hafiz Sayeed.”What kind of ideology is Rahul Gandhi supporting? The ideology that says ‘Pakistan zindabad’ and ‘Bharat ki barbadi tak, jang rahegi jang rahegi’ (Till the downfall of India, we will fight) is anti-national.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”His remarks are an insult to the nation, our Constitution and legal system. It shows his mental bankruptcy…Rahul Gandhi and his friends are speaking in the voice LeT terrorist Hafiz Sayeed who had tweeted in support of anti-India event in JNU,” said national secretary Shrikant Sharma.While there was no reaction from senior BJP leaders, party spokesperson, Nalin Kohli questioned Rahul Gandhi’s definition of nationalism.”Does he believe that the government is supposed to stand a mute spectators to blatant anti-national slogans…Are these supposed to be new nationalistic slogan and when action is taken against it, an investigation is happening on it …is it anti-national? Mr. Rahul Gandhi seemed to have turned Congress ideology on its head from the days of fighting against anti-national forces to now saying this is an astounding new definition of nationalism,” said Kohli.With politics becoming hot after police crackdown on students, Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi met union home minister Rajnath Singh and briefed him about the ongoing probe into the sedition case that been slapped on the agitators.Delhi police had arrested JNU students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar on Friday in connection with the case sparking massive outrage among students that in turn drew severe criticism from various political parties that dubbed it as an “emergency-like” situation.Before Bassi, leaders of the Left parties, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, D Raja of CPI and KC Tyagi of the JDU met Rajnath Singh asking him to order impartial probe and release Kanhaiya Kumar, who has been remanded to police custody for three days.”We have told the Home Minister that what is occurring is worse than Emergency and all students should not be painted anti-national and the footage should be properly scanned before action. He has assured us an impartial probe,” said Yechury.Soon after the meeting, Rajnath asserted that no innocent will be harassed but the guilty will not be spared.”No question of harassment of students. But the guilty will not be spared,” said Singh.Later in the day, Bassi tweeted, “As regards DP (Delhi Police), kindly have no doubts. DP is committed to the Rule of Law. We act without any extraneous influence.”However, CPI leader D Raja claimed that he has received calls carrying threats to his daughter, who is a student activist in the university. Raja said late Friday night he got a call from a man who spoke in Hindi and asked him why he was “fighting” with BJP and ABVP. He was also “reminded” that his daughter was a resident of the University and she would be shot down, Raja said.

Centre exposes PDP’s double speak, says Mehbooba Mufti was ready to take oath as chief minister

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been exposed after Centre released the documents revealing that the two senior leaders had approached the governor NN Vohra intimating him that Mehbooba Mufti was ready to take oath as the chief minister after the death of her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7.In an RTI reply, ministry of home affairs (MHA) has released Vohra’s letter to President Pranab Mukherjee informing him about his meeting with two PDP leaders –Muzaffar Hussain Baig, Lok Sabha MP from Baramulla and Nizam-ud-din Bhat, PDP general secretary –after the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Before I left Srinagar on January 7 to return to Jammu, a PDP delegation comprising Muzaffar Baig and Nizam-ud-din Bhat met me with prior appointment on the Srinagar airport. Baig informed me that he has brought a letter from his party addressed to me, which intimated the PDP’s decision that Mehbooba Mufti would be the next chief minister,: Vohra said in his letter on January 9.Elaborating, the governor said, Baig explained that he was not handing over the letter to him as he needed to recheck and be fully assured that all the PDP MLAs were on board in regard to the aforesaid decision.”I informed Baig and Bhat that the new chief minister would require to be administered oath and installed by the end of January 8. In this connection following documents would require to be furnished to the governor:Resolution of PDP legislature party about its decision to have Mehbooba Mufti as the next chief minister. Communication from the BJP to intimate their endorsement of the PDP’s aforesaid decision,” Vohra said.Since PDP and BJP did not give any formal response to governor till January 9 Vohra wrote to the president seeking consent for proclamation of governor’s rule and place the assembly under suspended animation.For the last one month there has been a stalemate in the state as PDP has been taking a moral high ground over the government formation seeking concrete confidence building measures from the Narendra Modi government before Mehbooba could take oath as chief minister.However the new documents has sparked a political storm with main opposition National Conference lampooning PDP’s “moral high ground” over demands and confidence building measures which they claim is to hoodwink the masses in the restive state.”Fact of the matter is that they had approached the governor to form the government even before the funeral (of Mufti) had taken place. It has become evident that PDP had delayed the government formation because there are internal issues within party over Mehbooba’s candidature and second they are creating drama to tell the people they have some sort of ideology and we regret what has happened,” Junaid Azim Mattu, spokesman of NC, told dna.

Omar Abdullah has become ‘restless’ courtesy lust for power: BJP

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday criticised former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah for suggesting the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to snap ties with them and said that the National Conference (NC) leader had become restless as he can’t stay away from power. “Why is Omar Abdullah in such a hurry? Why cannot he be in peace? He has become restless after the CM’s post was taken away from him. He can’t stay away from power that is why his restlessness is increasing,? BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Omar had yesterday asked PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti to be bold enough to break alliance with the BJP if she is not ready to form the new government in the state. The BJP had last week hinted that they were in favour of continuing the alliance with the PDP.The stalemate over government formation in the state is continuing for the past four weeks after the demise of PDP patron and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra had last week asked both the BJP and PDP to clear their stand on the government formation.

Not ready to ally with BJP, Mehbooba Mufti must form government or call for fresh polls: Omar Abdullah

With no government in place in Jammu and Kashmir for exactly a month, NC leader Omar Abdullah on Sunday said PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti cannot keep the entire state “guessing” and must form a new government or be bold enough to snap alliance with BJP and face polls.The former chief minister also made it clear that his party National Conference(NC) is not ready to support BJP in case the PDP-BJP alliance snaps. He also wanted Mehbooba to clear the air on the J and K–specific Confidence Building Measures(CBMs) that she wants the Modi government to commit to create an atmosphere congenial for formation of the new government. “Mehbooba Mufti has been quiet for long and she can no longer remain silent. She must clarify her stand on two-three issues and clear the air as to what are those CBMs and how long she will wait for those Confidence Building Measures and why did the need of CBMs suddenly arise after the demise of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Omar said that National Conference has been telling PDP time and again that if they are not ready to form the government, they should be bold enough to break the alliance. “We will go back to the people, but I am unable to understand the way of their leadership. They ask for Confidence Building Measures, but I am not sure that within the party people know or not, but outside nobody knows what they have asked for,” he said.He said that even BJP was not aware of what PDP was asking for. “Even as BJP has said that please clearly tell us what you are asking for, so we too would want to know what are the CBMs which Mehbooba Mufti is asking for, and did they keep a timeframe, a deadline,” Omar said.When asked what could be the reason for the ongoing stalemate over the government formation and whether the PDP president was scared to lead the state, Omar said, “I don’t want to say whether she is scared or not.”I want to say that she is a leader and she has to lead and she cannot follow, even if she is not ready to lead the state as of today then with conviction she should announce but she is not even saying no and not yes and has kept the entire state guessing”.Omar said that although an elected government is not in place, the alliance between PDP and BJP is still intact. “The agreement as far as our knowledge is concerned, the alliance (between BJP and PDP) still exists. We haven’t heard either from BJP or PDP that alliance has been broken, so the alliance exists and if the alliance exists, then why not government (is formed).”Agenda of the alliance was formed and Mufti sahab was made the chief minister. What has changed in the past ten months that today even though they have numbers in the assembly they are not ready to form the government”, he said. J and K has been without a government since the demise of Mehbooba’s father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7. The state came under Governor’s rule the next day.

No govt in Jammu & Kashmir until Centre commits to confidence building measures, says Mehbooba Mufti

Hardening her stance, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti on Friday made it clear that she will not form the government with BJP in Jammu and Kashmir if the Narendra Modi dispensation does not create a “conducive atmosphere” by committing confidence building measures (CBMs) for the state.”There are problems within problems. To face these difficulties, we need to have support and to have that conducive atmosphere (for forming government). If we get that, it is fine but if that does not happen, we will continue to move as we are moving today,” Mehbooba said on Friday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Flanked by her brother Tassaduq Mufti and senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Beigh, she indicated that she was not looking for any financial package but the CBMs sought by her should focus on political aspect of the problem.”It is not the matter of money. How much money has come and how much we have spent? When and how it came? But the issue is how will we create a conducive atmosphere so that the new government gets a new path and fillip to go ahead and create a goodwill among the people,” she said.Her remarks reflect hardening of stance over forming coalition government with BJP in the state which is under Governor’s Rule since January 8, a day after the demise of her father and the then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.PDP, with 27 MLAs in the 87-member Assembly and BJP with 25 legislators, ran a coalition government headed by Sayeed for 10 months before his death.Contending that she was not “resorting to blackmail or bargaining (with Centre)”, the PDP chief said, “The decision of Mufti sahib is acceptable to us… Mufti sahib had taken this decision (of formation government with BJP) for the welfare of the people. His commitment is my commitment. But it is a tough trial for me in the wake of void created by his demise.”Arguing that Jammu and Kashmir is not like any other state of the country, she said, “It is not Punjab, Rajasthan or Assam. We face a lot difficulties here. There are problems within problems. To face these difficulties, we need to have strength and to have that conducive atmosphere.””We are going ahead on the path chosen by Mufti sahib. Mufti sahib choose his ideology and welfare of the people when the situation had risen for him to choose between power, welfare of people and his ideology (Usool),” Mehbooba said.”We cannot form government in the air. The point is how to create a conducive atmosphere so that if a new government is formed, there is a way forward for creating goodwill among the people,” she said.Asking PDP cadres to work to strengthen the party, she said, “whether the government is formed or not, we should not depend on that.”Suggesting that she was willing to remain out of power, the PDP chief said her father and party patron “had done commendable job even while being out of the government as well.”He remained out of the government for 40-50 years. He remained in the power for 10-12 years. Those who have remained in power for 20-30 years have not achieved that much as Mufti sahib have achieved.”Asserting that there can’t be any compromise with the principles of her late father, Mehbooba said, “I will not allow harm to be done to his respect, hard-work and conviction, whatever may happen.”Referring to the criticism faced by her father within the party, she said, “Some people were unhappy against the decision of Mufti sahib to have alliance with BJP. May be people will have complaints. But Mufti sahib had a goodwill and people would trust him.”She said, “several people on the two sides in Kashmir and Jammu may have not liked BJP-PDP tie up but even after taken such a major decision, Mufti sahib went to downtown (old) area of Srinagar and was welcomed there. This was his goodwill.” The old areas of Srinagar are considered to be pro-separatists.Citing Mufti, Mehbooba said if peace is to be restored in Jammu and Kashmir, then India and Pakistan have to come together. “We need to work towards this,” she said.Describing her father as her role model, Mehbooba said, “We cannot think like Mufti sahib, but we are carrying forward the vision of Mufti sahib. We were promised in 1947 that it (J&K) will be a showcase window to the world… but unfortunately it has not happened.”She said “The people of Jammu and Kashmir were caught in quagmire of uncertainty”, she said, adding “Despite his ailment, Mufti strongly worked at the grassroot level because he wanted to do something good for the people of this state. He worked very hard for past ten months.”Mehbooba, who has been criticised by other parties for creating political uncertainty, said, “People are resorting to rumours over financial issues. It is incorrect. If Mufti sahib started big projects during his 10 month-rule where from did the money come? There may be a delay in some projects.”Maintaining that it is “not about finances”, the PDP chief said, “There could be a delay in getting finances but if the government has to be formed there has to be a way for forward movement.” She said her father had raced against time by working more because of which he faced more health problems during the last three months of his life.”Mufti sahib had come empty-handed in this world and has left back empty-handed but left a legacy of carving out PDP. He has not amassed properties but created his ideology which is biggest property for me,” Mehbooba said.She said Mufti had created PDP to give political alternative to the people in J&K. “We were very much settled in Congress at one time. We had very good relations with Sonia Gandhi and her family. They used to love us,” she said.”Democracy has always been incomplete in Jammu and Kashmir. Oppositions has always been muzzled,” she said.”People like Lalu Prasad Yadav, Nitish, Akhilesh Yadav, Jayalilitha, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee or Congress and BJP took to power and the democracy was allowed to function as a democracy but in Jammu and Kashmir this was not allowed to happen. In J&K, the power was vested with only one party (NC) in one way or the other way,” she said.”Power in Jammu and Kashmir was considered to be ancestral property by a political party and it was the biggest example in 1987 elections and we are still removing stings from our body,” she said.

Mehbooba Mufti puts conditions for government formation, BJP wants PDP to take first step

Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday has put the ball in the ball in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s court over the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir.”We need tangible confidence building measures to be taken by the central government to give the new government in J&K a fillip. Centre needs to create an environment to infuse confidence. And unless that happens, we cannot move forward,” Mehbooba told reporters after meeting Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra in Jammu.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Elaborating, she said, if a government is to be formed in the state, it will have to take tangible measures to address the causes of alienation, trust and development deficit in Jammu and Kashmir and work towards finding a long-lasting solution to the problem plaguing the state for the past more than six decades.For the first time since the demise of her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, PDP president spoke publicly and cleared the stand on the alliance with BJP and the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir.”My party wants a government in Jammu and Kashmir not for power but for inspiring confidence among the people, about its ability to solve the multiple problems faced by the State on political, economic, administrative and financial fronts,” she said.Mehbooba said Jammu and Kashmir is different state and there are different challenges unlike other states where there is government, opposition and other administrative problems.”In J&K we have to fight so many forces. And to fight these forces and stable the situation it is important that our country’s government stands behind us like a rock and solve the problems of Jammu and Kashmir,” she said.Mehbooba regretted that Centre did not support Mufti Mohommad Sayeed the way PDP was expecting during the last 10 months of rule in J&K.”Despite having taken a huge political risk of going against the public sentiment in Kashmir by aligning with BJP, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was virtually made to run from the pillar to post by New Delhi to get even the constitutionally guaranteed funds for the development of the State,” she said.Mehbooba noted that the credibility and stature of Mufti Sahab was such that despite facing enormous resource constraints and frequent unsettling issues, he kept the things moving on the governance and development fronts.”Although PDP faced various challenges in the 10 months of its alliance with BJP, unfortunately, Mufti Sahab’s resolute decision was not reciprocated by the Central Government, the way he expected it to be,”she lamented.Mehbooba minced no words in admitting that she was lacking experience like her father but noted that she believes in her father’s commitment and conviction”May be I don’t have that goodwill and experience. I do not have that vision under which Mufti joined hands with BJP. Mufti used to say I did not join hands with Modiji but with crores of people who elected him. He had expectation from Modi government and entire country that we will work together to take J&K out of the troubles. He did not think about electoral politics, party or himself,” she said.BJP leaders however played safe seeking 10 days time from the governor to sort out differences with PDP over the government formation.”There is constitutional requirement that PDP needs to elect its leader of the legislature and inform the governor,” said Nirmal Singh, former deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader after meeting with governor.Earlier in the day Singh called Mehbooba in Jammu in an apparent bid to break the ice. However he later dispelled the impressions and termed the meeting as a courtesy call. “It was a courtesy and nothing else,” he said

Jammu & Kashmir govt formation: I don’t have the same vision as my father did, says Mehbooba Mufti

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti maintained suspense over government formation as she met Governor N N Vohra in Jammu and set certain conditions to ally BJP, including confidence building measures (CBMs) by the Centre for peace and development of Jammu and Kashmir.Talking to reporters after meeting Vohra who had invited her to clarify her stand, Mehbooba said the state, which is different from others, needs a “good atmosphere, space and a fillip” if a new government is to be formed.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Governor Vohra wanted to know where we are on the govt formation. I don’t have the same vision that my father had, neither do I have the experience right now,” she said. She further stated, “Before formation of new Jammu and Kashmir govt, I want central govt to take some confidence building measures for the region.””Mufti sahab used to say he didn’t join hands with Modiji, he joined hands with the people who elected Modiji,” she said. The Governor had invited Mehbooba as part of effort to end political uncertainty that has been prevailing in the state for nearly a month since Sayeed, then Chief Minister, passed away on January 7.While remaining evasive on what she told the Governor over government formation, the PDP chief said, “Jammu and Kashmir is a different state, there are different challenges. In Jammu and Kashmir, there are several forces which need to be tackled. We need the Centre to be fully with us.”Repeatedly asked about what she wants from the Centre, Mehbooba said there was a need for confidence building measures (CBMs). Refusing to specify the CBMs, she referred to the ‘Agenda of Alliance’, saying it had been firmed up at the highest level by the two parties last year.With Agency Inputs

J&K govt formation: State BJP to consult central leadership before meeting Guv NN Vohra

BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir unit on Monday said it will hold consultations with central leadership before meeting the Governor to discuss government formation, a day after PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti indicated she was “reassessing” whether to continue alliance with it. BJP’s core group in the state met this morning after Governor NN Vohra asked leaders of the party and PDP to meet him tomorrow to clarify their stand on government formation.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the meeting, which also discussed Mehbooba’s statement made yesterday, BJP leaders asserted that there was “no concrete” demand or condition from the PDP and their party was committed to the implementation of “Agenda of Alliance”.”The Governor has called us in the evening (tomorrow) to discuss about the formation of the government. “Today, we have decided in the core group meeting that our 2-3 members will go to Delhi and discuss the issues with the central leadership,” state BJP President Sat Sharma told reporters here. “We will meet him (governor) and today’s meeting was regarding our stand on the issue of the formation of government,” Sharma said after the core group met at the residence of the state general secretary Ashok Kaul in Gandhi Nagar here.The BJP leader said if any issue is raised by PDP, it can be resolved. “In the past ten months, the development which has taken place was not seen in the past 60 years. Agenda of Alliance is the vision of Narendra Modi and Mufti Mohammed Sayeed to take Jammu and Kashmir forward. If you think the development was slow, then we will make sure that it is speeded up,” Sharma said.Asked if BJP was ready for fresh elections in the state, Sharma said that “it would be premature to speak about the issue”.On reports that PDP has made certains demands like power projects to the state, he said, “We will discuss with the centre and if any such issue comes up, we will tell you for sure. “PDP might have said it but we have not received anything from them in written. When such an issue arises, we will let you know,” he added.Replying to queries on Mehbooba Mufti’s concerns and demands on the issue of implementation of Agenda of Alliance, he said, “No condition has come to us, nobody has discussed anything with us till now. If we get anything in concrete, we will discuss on it. Our condition is only the Agenda of Alliance. We will take it forward with full spirit and implement it in the six years period and make sure that we go a step further then what is written in this Agenda of Alliance,” Sharma said. BJP MP from Jammu Jugal Kishore Sharma said any further step would be taken after discussions between the state and the central leaderships. On how long the government formation process could take, he said “nothing can be said in this regard”.Sharma said the party yesterday received a letter from the Governor, in which he invited them for a meeting at 6.00 pm tomorrow.

NC slams PDP for delaying govt formation in Jammu and Kashmir

As PDP maintained suspense, opposition National Conference on Sunday slammed it for delaying government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, asking it urgently to either own or disown the alliance with BJP which was the “final legacy” of late Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.NC said the continued delay in government formation has put Jammu and Kashmir in a “precarious Constitutional situation” where two parties continue to be in alliance with adequate numbers but “are still adamant to rob the people of their Constitutional right to a have an elected government”. PDP’s statement following a party meeting that it wants assurance on its ‘Agenda for Alliance’ is yet another “contemptuous attempt to test the patience of the people and the continued and liberal indulgence of the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir”, NC spokesman Junaid Mattu said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This continued theatre of absurdity by PDP is not an alternative to the constitutional and political responsibilities of the largest political party in the Legislative Assembly and calls into question PDP’s seriousness in governing the state beyond its own partisan rhetoric and interests,” he said. “PDP’s alliance with the BJP is Sayeed’s final and definitive political legacy. PDP should either own it or disown it without any further delay. There is no third, middle-path,” Mattu said here.He said, “Any further delay in government formation while PDP and BJP continue to be in an alliance would not only be unconstitutional but would also discredit the neutrality and objectivity of political institutions in the state and for a state like Jammu and Kashmir, this comes with grave risks.” He added, “We hope the Constitution is respected and its principles upheld to safeguard the Constitutional rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”Mattu said if PDP wants “assurances” from BJP about the Agenda of the Alliance now, “what was Sayeed doing for the last ten months while every single political and developmental promise in the common minimum programme was flouted and broken by both parties in carefully cinematographed fixed matches?” The NC spokesperson said if PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and her party want to disown the final political legacy of their founder, they should do so and “allow the people of the state to exercise their democratic right to choose a new representative government that not only resumes the responsibilities of governance but also safeguards the sensitive strategic and political interests of the state”.He said people of Jammu and Kashmir participated in the elections in such large numbers not because they wanted PDP to “first betray their mandate by aligning with the BJP and then for the PDP spokesperson to come out week after week asking the people to continue living in endless political instability.”

Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s family vacates official bungalow in Jammu

Srinagar: Even as suspense continues over next government formation, late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s family has vacated the official bungalow of the Chief Minister in Jammu, leading to questions as to what his daughter and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti could be up to.

Mehbooba Mufti/  ReutersMehbooba Mufti/  Reuters

Mehbooba Mufti/ Reuters

Begum Gulshan, wife of the late leader and mother of Mehbooba, visited the bungalow at Wazarat Road in Jammu city on January 18, just 11 days after Sayeed’s demise, and took away the family belongings.

“Mufti Sahab ceased to be the Chief Minister and on 18th of this month, the family got its all personal belongings from that house in the best traditions of public conduct,” PDP spokesman and former Minister Naeem Akhtar told reporters.

“There is nothing political about it. This is a normal practice..Mufti Sahab had always batted for this,” he said, adding “It is the designated house of the Chief Minister. How can someone who is not a Chief Minister stay there?”

This assumes significance as Mehbooba is expected to be the next Chief Minister as PDP is the largest party in the Assembly even though she has maintained suspense over the issue.
PDP, which has 27 MLAs in the 87-member Assembly, ran a 10-month coalition government with BJP headed by Sayeed before his demise on January 7.

According to rules, official accommodation can be retained for one month after a person ceases to be the Chief Minister, said an official of the state government. There was no handover and takeover with the family of deceased Chief Minister, said an official of the Estates Department which is responsible for allocation of government accommodations.

“Whatever may be technicalities, they have taken all of their belongings. That means that they have vacated it,” the official added. “This is an exceptional case… Mufti sahib’s wife had come to official CM’s residence and took away all of the family belongings,” the official said.

PTI

Mehbooba keeps suspense on about government formation

A day after being authorised to decide on government formation, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti maintained suspense over it on Monday, apparently as she was still seeking feedback from party functionaries on the performance of coalition government with BJP headed by her late father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.The PDP core group, which met here on Sunday, had authorised Mehbooba, who is tipped to be the next Chief Minister to succeed Sayeed, to take the final call on alliance with the BJP. However, she has not revealed her cards so far. A senior PDP leader said Mehbooba was in no hurry to take a decision on continuing the alliance with the BJP for government formation.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”She is still in process of getting the feedback from the party functionaries about the implementation of Agenda of Alliance as well as performance of the government over the past 10 months,” said the leader, who wished not to be named. With the PDP president taking her time, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said while the “evident” PDP-BJP coalition in the state was a foregone conclusion, there was an inexplicable delay in government formation.Meanwhile, Independent MLAs are keenly watching the situation, hoping that the regional party would break away from the BJP giving them a chance. Independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rasheed has suggested Mehbooba not to take a decision in haste over government formation.”Though people deserve a popular government, addressing their political aspirations and protecting their rights is far more important than other all issues. Any well-wisher of Kashmiris should not force or compel Mehbooba to form the government in haste under current circumstances,” he said.

Mehbooba Mufti hails Indo-Pak reconciliation process

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Monday hoped the rejuvenated reconciliation process between India and Pakistan would give a new direction to efforts for ensuring peace and stability in the region.Welcoming the rapprochement between Iran and the West, Mehbooba, who is tipped to be the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir succeeding her late father Mufti Sayeed, said Tehran’s historic nuclear deal with the world powers has made it clear that there is no alternative to the process of engagement and reconciliation.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Fortunately the latest understanding between the world powers and Iran coincides with renewed engagement between New Delhi and Islamabad, and we hope that the rejuvenated reconciliation process would give a new direction to the efforts aimed at ensuring peace and stability in the region,” she said. She expressed the hope that the new geo-political scenario emerging in the region would expand the ambit of economic and trade cooperation between India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran and allow these countries to exploit the wide array of opportunities available for boosting economic growth.A cooperative relationship in the region could also lead to peaceful and ultimate settlement of the contentious issues plaguing their growth, she said. Mehbooba said for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, peace and stability in the region is of utmost importance as they have been the worst sufferers of the hostility.”Our enterprising young boys and girls have been deprived of the massive benefits of globalization and economic liberalization that swept the world during the past two decades when our state was embroiled in a bleeding conflict,” she said adding that the latest reconciliatory process has generated a new hope for peace and stability in the region which, if sustained, could throw up new economic opportunities for our people.She said it has been the consistent opinion of PDP that security and stability in Jammu and Kashmir is possible only in a space provided by amity, friendship and cooperative relationship between India and Pakistan.PDP’s vision of a peaceful, stable and prosperous Jammu and Kashmir, outlined in its ‘Self-Rule’ document, is essentially about neutralizing the historical political and economic excesses with the state that were compounded by its natural and political geography, she said.Mehbooba said reviving Jammu and Kashmir’s traditional connectivity with outside world could pave the way for economic and social integration of the region through a common economic market.

PDP hints at ties with BJP, but Mehbooba Mufti in no hurry to be CM

Meeting nine days after Jammu and Kashmir was brought under Governor’s rule, the PDP’s core group met today and indicated it was veering to the idea of forming a coalition government with BJP, but its president Mehbooba Mufti told the meeting she was in no hurry to take over as chief minister.The meeting also authorised Mehbooba to take a final call on government formation. “The core group has authorised party president Mehbooba to take whatever decision on it (government formation),” PDP leader Naeem Akhtar said after the marathon 5-hour meeting of the party’s core group.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Akhtar said the PDP has not set any conditions for government formation with the BJP, but refused to set any deadline for it, too. “No conditions on part of the PDP,” he said. Asked how soon will the government be formed, he said “no timeline.” “The most important point in the vision of Mufti Sahib was reconciliation between India and Pakistan,” he said.Akhtar, a trusted aide of the late chief minister, said the party welcomed the Prime Minister’s Lahore visit last month and the maturity shown by the Centre in the wake of the Pathankot attack. “It was his (Sayeed’s) belief that India-Pakistan friendship is necessary for Kashmir as it has been a victim of hostilities between the two countries,” he said. A senior leader, who was present in the meeting, however, said Mehbooba told the party leaders she was in no hurry and would take over as chief minister only after she is convinced that she can translate into reality her father’s vision for the state.”Mehbooba made it clear at the meeting of the party’s Core Group that she is not in a hurry to form the government or become the chief minister of the state. “She said no one can force the decision on her,” he told PTI speaking on the condition of anonymity. “The PDP president told the party meeting that she did not doubt the wisdom of her late father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in joining hands with the BJP to form a government last year.”She said she wanted to be convinced that she can implement her father’s mission and vision for Jammu and Kashmir before taking a call on government formation,” the leader said.He said the tone of Mehbooba’s speech indicated that government formation in the state might be delayed till the Centre reaches out to the PDP president, who was reportedly unhappy about the way Sayeed was treated in his last days. The PDP chief was reportedly unhappy over Prime Minister Narendra Modi not having visited Sayeed when he was admitted to AIIMS in Delhi before his death though he had paid tributes to the leader at the airport when his mortal remains were being shifted to the state. Congress president Sonia Gandhi had visited Sayeed in the hospital and also called on Mehbooba in Srinagar after his death.”Contrary to perception that a new government will be in place very soon, it might take longer than just few days,” he added. Governor’s Rule was imposed in the state with effect from January 8, a day after Sayeed’s death, as the PDP and BJP, alliance partners in state government since March 1, 2015, failed to stake claim for formation of a new dispensation.

PDP core group authorises Mehbooba Mufti to decide on government formation

Dropping broad hints about continuance of its coalition with the BJP, the PDP on Sunday said the party’s core group has authorised president Mehbooba Mufti to take a final call on government formation in Jammu and Kashmir.”On government formation, the party feels that the agenda of alliance is a sacred document for us and there has been much progress on that under (Mufti Mohammed) Sayeed. “The core group has authorised party president Mehbooba to take whatever decision on it (government formation),” PDP leader Naeem Akhtar said after the marathon 5-hour meeting of the party’s core group.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Akhtar said the PDP has not set any conditions for government formation with the BJP, but refused to set any deadline for it, too. “No conditions on part of the PDP,” he said. Asked how soon will the government be formed, he said “no timeline.” “The focus is on the agenda of alliance, which has been part of Mufti sahib’s vision,” he said.Akhtar said the party leaders put forth their points of view at the meeting chaired by Mehbooba on how to carry forward the mission of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who died at AIIMS in Delhi on January 7. “The most important point in the vision of Mufti Sahib was reconciliation between India and Pakistan,” he said. Akhtar, a trusted aide of the late chief minister, said the party welcomed the Prime Minister’s Lahore visit last month and the maturity shown by the Centre in the wake of the Pathankot attack.”It was his (Sayeed’s) belief that India-Pakistan friendship is necessary for Kashmir as it has been a victim of hostilities between the two countries,” he said. “The finest moment in Mufti Sahib’s life was when he was monitoring the situation from his death bed and saw the Prime Minister of our country visit Lahore,” Akhtar said.He said the PDP leaders were happy about the maturity shown by the country’s leadership in the wake of the Pathankot attack and its decision to continue talks and improve relations with Pakistan. “The people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, who have been the victims of this confrontation, are very happy with this decision. We must move forward on this path and that will be the biggest tribute to Mufti Mohammad Sayeed,” he added

National Conference throws its hat in the ring for government formation in J&K

Even as the stalemate over government formation continues, the main opposition National Conference (NC) has thrown its hat in the ring expressing readiness to consider any proposal for alliance with the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir.NC president Farooq Abdullah said his party has not slammed doors for the alliance (with the BJP) for the government formation in the restive state.”If any proposal comes (from BJP or Centre), NC will call the working committee meeting to discuss the issue. If such situation arises, we can think over it. We have not slammed our doors. Our doors are open,” he told reporters.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier Farooq while addressing NC workers in Udhampur noted that peoples’ aspirations hold paramount importance in democratic polity and the moment ruling elite suffers from mistaken belief of being ‘kings’ they get distanced from the masses.”National Conference firmly believes in people to be the fountain head of power. This being core of his party’s philosophy, a major stride was taken in 1996 to steer Jammu and Kashmir on the path of democracy. Those years were really difficult,” he saidFarooq also referred to his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was chief minister of Gujarat in 2011. “I had told Mr Modi that I want to see the day in my life when I would look in his (Modi’s) eyes and would be able to see my Allah, and when he (Modi) looks in my eyes, he will see his Ram”, he said.Farooq’s statement comes a day before Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is holding its first core group meeting since the demise of chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. PDP has called all the members including MPs, general secretaries and ex ministers for the meeting to discuss the prevailing situation.PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, who had literally became recluse after the death of her father, will resume work formally on Sunday when she will preside over the meeting.”The meeting will review the situation post Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s demise. Obviously the discussion on alliance with government formation would also come up. The leaders would give their inputs and suggestions”, said a PDP leaderPDP has so far been playing hardball with the BJP over the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir. PDP had earlier asked BJP to meet some conditions before Mehbooba Mufti takes oath as the next chief minister of the state.The conditions include return of power projects run by the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC), return of land under the occupation of the security forces, avoiding controversial issues, liberal central assistance and other demands mentioned in the agenda of alliance.

Stalemate over government formation continues in Jammu and Kashmir

The stalemate over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir continued with both PDP and BJP, allies in the dispensation headed by late Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, remaining tight-lipped about the future course of action.There is a likelihood of a meeting of PDP on Friday amid the party’s assertion that BJP should communicate whether it was willing “implement” what has been agreed in the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ of last year. “The party has conveyed its stand on the government formation and it is now for the BJP to make the next move — whether they are willing to implement what has been agreed upon in the ‘Agenda of Alliance’,” a PDP leader said.Senior party leader Naeem Akhtar has made it clear that PDP would review what was achieved during the 10 months of the coalition government with the BJP under Sayeed.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Mufti Sahib had a vision for making Jammu and Kashmir a modern state. Due to his death, his vision is yet to be realised. The party under the leadership of Mehbooba Mufti will need to review how much we have succeeded to fulfill Mufti Sahib’s vision so far,” he said. Describing the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ as a “sacred document” and not a piece of “scripture”, Akhtar said it needed to be assessed whether the “common vision” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mufti had been taken forward.He said there have been several “gaps” in its implementation and in this context referred to the issues like return of power projects to the state, developing of smart cities, return of land under use of armed forces.”I am saying these are areas of concern of Jammu and Kashmir as well as national concern,” the PDP leader said, adding BJP should do some stock-taking. He said Mufti, with his stature, could “absorb” these concerns but in his absence PDP has a dilemma as to whether things can be carried forward in the same manner.BJP, on the other hand, was tight-lipped on government formation. Senior party leader and union minister Jitendra Singh said he has “no idea” about any differences with PDP. “I honestly believe that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi the entire country has moved forward on a development plank at a very fast pace and I wish, really wish, that the state of Jammu and Kashmir should not allow itself to be deprived of this opportunity,” he told reporters in Jammu on the sidelines of a function.Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the PDP’s review of the performance of its coalition with the BJP was a vindication of opposition charge that the government did “absolutely nothing” in the past 10 months.”Effectively making our point that their government did absolutely nothing for 10 months,” Omar wrote on Twitter. The state has been under Governor’s Rule since January 9 as PDP and BJP did not stake claim for government formation after the Sayeed’s death.

Jammu and Kashmir: PDP, BJP say coalition to continue; no time frame given for govt formation

Ending suspense of days, PDP and BJP on Tuesday said their coalition will continue on the basis of the understanding reached last year but gave no timeframe for formation of the new government in Jammu and Kashmir, which is set to be headed by Mehbooba Mufti.Both parties emphasised that no conditions have been put by either, with PDP saying the coalition will move forward on the basis of last year’s ‘Agenda of Alliance’ which encompasses all issues – political and economic.BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, who had played the key role in firming up the coalition last year, held a meeting with all the 25 MLAs of the party in Jammu after which the party leaders said they were just waiting for PDP to initiate the process of forming the government.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP general secretary in-charge of J&K Avinash Rai Khanna said they are waiting for PDP to formally elect their Legislature Party leader after which other formalities could be done. “As far as I am concerned, there is no suspense. We have lost a stalwart like Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Once the official mourning period (seven days) is over, I think the (coalition) government will carry on under the leadership of Mehbooba Mufti,” PDP’s chief spokesperson Mehboob Beg told reporters.The state government had declared a seven-day official mourning as a mark of respect to Sayeed, then Chief Minister who passed away at AIIMS in Delhi on last Thursday. This mourning period will end tomorrow. Beg, however, did not give a timeframe for government formation in the state which was brought under Governor’s Rule on Friday following the death of Sayeed a day earlier. He said no conditions had been laid either by the PDP or the BJP for the government formation in the state as all the issues had been thrashed out in ‘Agenda of Alliance’ last year. PDP has 27 MLAs in the 87-member Assembly.”This government will continue after the state mourning is over as per the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ in which all the issues that were between this alliance of North Pole and South Pole have been sorted out by Mufti sahib,” Beg said. The PDP spokesperson said the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ between the two parties encompasses all the issues — both political as well as economic — and will form the guiding the document for the six-year term of the coalition.”I do not think there is any need for talks (with BJP). I do not see any issues that need to be resolved,” he added. Asked about the speculation of Congress offering support to PDP for government formation, Beg said AICC president Sonia Gandhi and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad had come only to pay respects to Sayeed who had spent a long time in that party.”Soniaji and Azad Sahib came to pay respect to the person who had helped Congress take roots in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added. “There are no differences between PDP and BJP. Let PDP decide their leader. Thereafter, further process will start,” said Khanna after the meeting which he termed as “informal”. “Let PDP open its cards,” the BJP leader added. The party’s state unit chief Sat Paul Sharma also asserted that there are no differences between the two parties.”We will definitely go ahead…. Let PDP choose its leader. When they elect their leader, we will sit together and decide the future course of action,” he said, while adding that there was no formal communication from PDP as of now because of the mourning period. Asked when the swearing-in could take place, Sharma said it will depend on PDP.Noting that there was a 7-day mourning period which will end tomorrow, he expressed hope that government-formation steps will start thereafter and BJP will have formal meeting on the issue. To a question on delay, Sharma said PDP has to go to the Governor to inform about their leader. “I think we will soon arrive at a decision,” he said.”We have already replied to the Governor,” the BJP leader said, referring to the query made by Vohra about the position of the respective parties. Meanwhile, with the government-formation getting delayed, the Budget Session of the Assembly, scheduled to start on January 18, has been cancelled.Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta said today that the new government will decide on when to convene the session afresh. During the 52-day session, the PDP-BJP government headed by Sayeed was to present its annual budget on January 22.

Jammu and Kashmir Budget Session won’t commence from Jan 18, says state assembly Speaker

“After the death of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, the situation has been tense. We will form the government very soon” Even if there is a delay by a day or two, there will not be any problem,” he added. Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta has said that the Budget Session called by the previous government stands cancelled as of now, and added that a decision in this regard would be made only after discussion with the new Chief Minister. “I don’t think Budget Session will commence on schedule. Any decision on the Session will be taken only after discussion with new Chief Minister’s swearing-in ceremony. I don’t think it is possible to have Assembly session from January 18,” Gupta said”After the death of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, the situation has been tense. We will form the government very soon” Even if there is a delay by a day or two, there will not be any problem,” he added.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uncertainty over budget session of the Legislature, which had been called by previous Government headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed from January 18, has ended with cancellation of the session. The new budget session will now be called by the next Government after it assumes the office.According to the provisional calendar issued by the Assembly Secretariat, there would be a 52-day-long Budget session with 36 sittings. Chief Minister Sayeed was scheduled to reply to debate on Motion of Thanks to Governor’s Address on January 21.

Unease grips BJP as PDP keeps up guessing game

Unease has gripped the BJP after People’s Democratic Party (PDP) showed no signs of early formation of government with Mehbooba Mufti keeping everyone guessing about her next move.Mehbooba met the party leaders and legislators on Sunday evening for the first time since her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s death on Thursday. She broke down in the condolence meeting and thanked everyone for their support. However, she did not utter a word about the government formation sparking unease in the BJP camp.Mehbooba later issued a statement expressing gratitude to the state administration for their tireless efforts in following through Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s vision and commitment to address the demanding challenges confronting J&K.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Fortunately, both in 2002 and in 2015, the administration expeditiously partnered with the political leadership and toiled tirelessly to turn Mufti Sahab’s vision for Jammu and Kashmir’s prosperity into reality. It was because of these cooperative efforts at the political and administrative levels that various pioneering initiatives could be implemented in J&K”, she said.However, Mehbooba remained silent on the government formation sending jitters across BJP. “We have not received any information from PDP for the government formation. Neither has any conditions been set”, said a senior state BJP leaderBJP is leaving it to the PDP to make the first move, sensing that her views on the arrangement would depend heavily on two factors– that the entire responsibility was now on Mehbooba’s shoulders and that she had to keep her constituency in mind.BJP general secretary Ram Madhav has rejected reports that both parties have put up fresh conditions. “It is for PDP to take the first call from their side. They have to decide about their leader and come forward. I hope they take a decision soon so that this kind of uncertainty ends”, Madhav was quoting by news agencies as saying.However, BJP legislator from Leh Chering Dorje told a local news agency that some BJP lawmakers want to see a BJP legislator as Chief Minister for three years while others want complete reshuffle in cabinet portfolios.

Jammu and Kashmir: Suspense continues over Mehbooba Mufti’s next move

Even after the end of mourning period, there were no indications on Monday about how soon a new government would be formed in Jammu and Kashmir, with PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti maintaining suspense and BJP saying it will wait for the ally to make the first move amid its wish to see the existing power-sharing arrangement to continue.Mehbooba, who is tipped to be the next Chief Minister succeeding her late father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, has kept the suspense on over when she will start steps to form the government in the state where Governor’s rule was imposed on last Saturday.”So far nothing has changed. Any further development on the formation of government would depend on how soon the party president is able to hold consultations and seek advice on the issue,” senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar told PTI when asked whether any step has been initiated for forming the next government. Mehbooba, who resumed work as PDP president last evening at the end of four-day mourning period for Sayeed, is yet to call the Legislature party meeting as part for government formation efforts.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”At the farewell function to the personal staff of Sayeed, the party legislators, who were also present, have thrown their weight behind the president on the future course of action. We are now waiting for her decision,” the leader said. Although BJP, the coalition partner of PDP in the government headed by Sayeed, has not given in writing its support to Mehbooba as the next chief minister yet, several party leaders including former Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh have expressed confidence that the alliance will continue for the rest of the term of the current assembly.BJP general secretary Ram Madhav made it clear in Delhi that his party wanted the existing power-sharing arrangement to continue but said PDP has to take the first call. He also rejected as “mere speculation” the reports that both parties have put up fresh conditions, insisting that no political discussion had started between them as Mehbooba was in deep mourning.Asked about the uncertainty, he said, “PDP can answer this question. They have to think about the process they have to complete from their side. It is for PDP to take the first call from their side. They have to decide about their leader and come forward. I hope they take a decision soon so that this kind of uncertainty ends.” Queried if BJP expected a smooth takeover by a new PDP-BJP government, Madhav, who had played a key role in firming up the coalition in March last year, said, “I am tempted to say it will be smooth. We will like to know what they are thinking. PDP has to be forthcoming.” Sayeed had a “grand vision” for the state’s development which resulted in the alliance between the two parties, the BJP leader told reporters.”We had an alliance months ago with the grand vision of the state’s development. We (BJP) are in favour of continuing that arrangement for the larger benefit of the state. It has been in the interest of the state and we want this to continue,” he said. With the mourning period over yesterday, BJP expects political discussion within PDP to start now following which it will respond accordingly, he said.Asked about Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s meeting with Mehbooba yesterday which has fuelled political speculation, Madhav quipped, “What transpired, I do not know but I am tempted to believe that it was to express condolence.” Gandhi’s visit to Mehbooba’s residence had fueled speculation that moves might be afoot for weaning PDP away from BJP to form an alternative government.Significantly, BJP leader and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari also visited Mehbooba soon after Gandhi. Congress has earlier shared power with PDP between 2002 and 2008, with both parties having their Chief Minister on rotational basis after three years.They later had a bitter split in 2008 following the Amarnath land row agitation.PDP has already given a letter to Governor N N Vohra, saying all its 27 MLAs support Mehbooba for the Chief Ministership. But Mehbooba had reportedly said that she will not take oath till the end of mourning period for her father, which ended yesterday.Vohra on Friday had asked both PDP and BJP to convey their position on the government formation. Since BJP did not convey its position, the Governor’s rule was imposed. Meanwhile, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah scoffed at speculation over government formation in the state, saying they were nothing more than well crafted smoke and mirrors, and decried criticism of Mehbooba.Omar, the working president of PDP’s arch-rival National Conference, said Mehbooba was a grief-stricken daughter who is not ready to take over as the Chief Minister yet.”You have a grief stricken daughter who isn’t ready to take over just yet. All the other stuff is well crafted smoke & mirrors, nothing more,” he wrote on Twitter. He said there was “so much needless speculation about what is & isn’t happening in the PDP or BJP and all of it coming from people who don’t have a clue”.He was referring to speculation about Congress warming up to PDP for government formation in the state and Mehbooba setting conditions before the BJP. “Anyone who tells me the visuals of Mehbooba at her father’s grave today were of a woman calculating political chess moves is delusional,” he said.

FTII row: I&B ministry comes up with two compromise formulas, cuts no ice with students

An official statement released said that B P Singh was elected as the Vice President of the FTII Society while Hirani, Singh, Saikia, Shah, Pathak and Somaiyya were nominated to the Governing Council.

Amrita Nayak Dutta

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Mufti Mohammad Sayeed: A master politician who tried to nurture true Indian constituency in Kashmir

Many may see him as collaborator and Delhi’s man in Srinagar, who rocked democratic process in Kashmir, be in withdrawing support to Sheikh Abdullah government in 1978 and dismissal of Farooq government in 1984, but his aides say, the post 1999 Mufti had switched loyalties, but continued a single most threat to Abdullah family. It is not a coincidence, that doctors attending to him at the AIIMS had diagnosed his suffering form septicemia and opportunist infection, a medical term, meaning infection that occurs because of weakened immune system. Only history will judge him: whether he was an opportunist of politician with heart at the right place for Kashmiri people, who are still waiting for a genuine democracy to take roots in Kashmir to empower them.

Iftikhar Gilani
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Incredible India: Amitabh Bachchan most likely to be new mascot

When asked about Aamir’s removal, Bachchan said his contract must have ended. “I think you need to clarify first whether he is being removed because of something that he may have said or it’s the end of his contract. I am sure that there must be some kind of difference there. I don’t think that people are removed just because they did not agree or said something that is controversial,” Bachchan said.

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Act now, it’s Jaish-e-Mohammed: India tells Pakistan

The top military leadership was also briefed in detail about prevailing and emerging threats, ongoing operations of security/intelligence agencies for breaking the nexus between terrorists and their support mechanism across the country, said the statement, without elaborating whether Pathankot attack or evidence shared by India was discussed.

Iftikhar Gilani
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Mufti Mohammad Sayeed laid to rest, Mehbooba Mufti to succeed as CM of Jammu and Kashmir

The Central Government also announced that the national flag will be flown half-mast today across the country as a mark of respect to the departed leader. The Cabinet adopted a resolution was passed which said in the passing away of Sayeed, the nation has lost an eminent and distinguished leader, a true nationalist and a stalwart from Jammu and Kashmir. The Cabinet also extended its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family.

PTI
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Mufti Mohammad Sayeed laid to rest with full state honours

Omar Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Sayeed’s son Mufti Tassaduq carried his coffin on their shoulders before it was laid to rest. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and state Governor N N Vohra were among those who visited the bereaved family at its Gupkar residence to offer condolences.

PTI
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Delhi, Himalayan states could face 8.0 magnitude quake, warns Home Ministry report

The Home Ministry’s own assessment says that regulatory mechanism in quake-prone Indian cities are not upto the mark and a massive earthquake can result in massive casualty.

dna Web Team

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Also ReadIndiaPathankot terror attack: Post-mortem of four terrorists heldIndiaMufti Mohammad Sayeed laid to rest with full state honoursIndiaPM Modi owes explanation to people on Pathankot attack: AK AntonyIndiaDelhi, Himalayan states could face 8.0 magnitude quake, warns Home Ministry reportIndiaVHP slams Mamata govt over Malda violence; clash leads to shake-up in Kaliachak police stationIndiaIndia awaiting detailed report from Afghan agencies on Mazar-i-sharif attack <!– /.block –>

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Here is all you need to know about Mufti Mohammad Sayeed

Sayeed became the unanimous choice for Chief Minister when PDP and BJP reached an agreement to form a coalition government and took oath on March 1, 2015.

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Student protesters to greet Gajendra Chauhan with cultural programme at FTII meeting today

“Despite a 139-day-long strike in the campus, several meetings with the ministers and the officials of information and broadcasting ministry, the questions we have raised have largely remained unanswered,” a statement released by the FTII students’ body read.

Amrita Nayak Dutta

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Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed passes away

“Muftiji was a visionary leader dedicated entire life to a united strong J&K in India. His demise at a crucial juncture is saddening. Condolences,” said Ram Madhav, National General Secretary of BJP.

dna Web Team

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Mufti Mohammed Sayeed put on ventilator support

Sayeed took over as chief minister of PDP-BJP coalition on March 1 last year. His health had sparked off speculation that there could be a possible change of guard. Sayeed had himself hinted last November during a press conference in Jammu that he would like to hand over the reins to his daughter Mehbooba Mufti. When asked, Akhter said, “Right now Mehbooba ji is worried about the health of her father. However, let me make it clear that she is an obvious choice.”

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Sushma Swaraj discusses Pak strategy with ex-envoys, former foreign secys

In a pre-dawn attack, a group of heavily-armed Pakistani terrorists, suspected to be belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit, struck at the Air Force base in Punjab yesterday, leading to a fierce gunbattle.

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Jammu and Kashmir CM Mufti Sayeed’s condition still critical: AIIMS <!– /.block –>
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England is Shreejit Hingankar’s only hope

He added, “Now the parents of Shreejit are busy with documentation for passports. Once that is done, we will fly to England for consultation. The company has also asked me to arrange for a dedicated pediatrician who can take care of Shreejit, once he is back in India.”

Santosh AndhaleInfoSantosh Andhale covers education and health.

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Terror grips Pathankot airbase for 16 hrs, 5 terrorists killed

The Pakistani foreign office issued a statement condemning the Pathankot attack. “Pakistan condemns the terrorist incident in Pathankot, in which many precious lives have been lost. We extend heartfelt condolences to the government and people of India and the bereaved families and wish the wounded speedy and full recovery.”

Deevakar Anand

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