In the first meeting of the PDP brass since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8 triggered protests in the Valley, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Saturday asked party leaders and cadres to “reach out” to people and “revive” the party and create an amicable atmosphere.
Mehbooba, whose party’s bastion in south Kashmir is the epicentre of the ongoing protests, in which 86 people have so far been killed and more than 11,000 injured in the last two-and-a-half months, said she was surprised by the turn of events after Wani’s killing.
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“I got a convincing mandate in the elections. I felt everything is working fine. But it all changed overnight,” she is reported to have told the PDP ministers, legislators and senior party leaders at the closed-door meeting.
“Lives have been lost…it is a great loss. We sympathise with those who have suffered…I will not let our people down,” a top PDP leader quoted Mehbooba as saying.
A senior leader privy to the details said Mehbooba called upon party cadres to work for creating an amicable atmosphere to sustain the efforts at reviving and building the peace and reconciliation process that had begun in 2003.
The PDP president admitted that she is in a “difficult” situation and sought people’s trust and assured the party leaders that the situation will be overcome.
Senior PDP leader and Lok Sabha MP from Baramulla Muzaffar Hussain Baig put his weight behind the Chief Minister. “In her humility, she, as the party president, wrote a letter of invitation to Hurriyat (leaders) because they do not recognise the government,” Beig said in the meeting, referring to Mehbooba’s last-minute invite to separatist leaders ahead of the all-party Parliamentarians’ delegation that recently visited the Valley. But for a dialogue, he said, the “other party should also be ready”, which was not the case.
Sources said the resignation of Srinagar MP and one of PDP’s founder-members Tariq Hameed Karra was not discussed.