South Kashmir on Tuesday saw a political outreach by the Valley’s two major mainstream political parties after three years. While PDP president Mehbooba Mufti visited Anantnag, former chief minister and National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah addressed a workers’ convention in Kulgam.
Out of power and back to her political turf, Mufti batted for a dialogue with the militant leadership in the Valley. “My stand has always been clear….Since 1996 when I joined politics, I would always say that the militants especially the local militants are the sons of the soil,” Mufti said after meeting groups of people in Anantnag. “I believe… there should be dialogue not only with Hurriyat but also with those wielding gun – not at this time, it is too early. But the way dialogue should happen with Pakistan, with separatists, it should also happen with militant leadership…”
After her first political rally in her hometown Bijbehara on the death anniversary of her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, this was Mehbooba’s first political activity in south Kashmir.
In neighbouring Kulgam district’s Chawalgam, Omar’s target was Mehbooba. “She (Mehbooba) could have done good for these families, when she was heading a government… But at that time she never bothered to visit them,” Omar told reporters on the sidelines of the convention, referring to Mehbooba’s recent visits to the families of militants in south Kashmir. “I don’t have any problem with her visits to their (militant) families. I have a problem why did she not visit them when she was in power.”