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Sunday, April 11, 2021

With NC silent, PDP leaders mull presence in PAGD

With Sajad Lone-led People’s Conference (PC) having already exited the alliance, the PAGD has not held a meeting in the months since.

Written by Naveed Iqbal | Sringar |
Updated: March 28, 2021 9:03:15 am
Mehbooba Mufti newsMehbooba Mufti at a PDP meet in Srinagar(Twitter/SAAQQIIB)

Peeved with the continued silence of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), the leadership of the PDP have raised concerns regarding continuation of the party within the mainstream coalition, and has asked party president Mehbooba Mufti to reconsider PDP’s relations with the National Conference and “whether joining hands with PAGD remains pertinent”.

With Sajad Lone-led People’s Conference (PC) having already exited the alliance, the PAGD has not held a meeting in the months since.

The PC is also set to include several new members within its fold in the upcoming weeks, signalling realignment within the political mainstream.

The party’s reconstituted Political Affairs Committee (PAC) met on Saturday under Mufti’s leadership. A senior member of the PAC told The Sunday Express that in the meeting party leaders raised concerns over “continuation of the PDP in the PAGD due to the role of alliance partner National Conference”.

Members of the PAC, according to a source in PDP, said that the NC has been “completely silent” on revocation of special status and the Kashmir issue. “Only the PDP has been talking about these primary concerns, which is the reason why the PAGD was constituted,” this source said.

According to the source, PDP workers, especially in Jammu region, voted for the NC in the recent DDC polls on Mufti’s call. “But when the results were announced, the NC spoke only of its own victory and of strengthening its own party, and not as a victory for the alliance.”

A PAC member from south Kashmir said that PDP was the first to condemn Enforcement Directorate’s inquiry against NC president Farooq Abdullah, but when the ED sent summons to Mehbooba Mufti, “the NC leadership was silent”.

Speaking on the sidelines of a party meeting in Pulwama, NC vice-president Omar Abdullah said, “Mehbooba-ji is neither the first leader nor will she be the last. Unfortunately we have observed that in the last six to eight years, the cost of criticising the Centre is obtained through these agencies.”

Deliberating on the thaw in relations between India and Pakistan, the PDP members welcomed recent gestures of peace from both sides of the border and ceasefire agreement, leading to de-escalation of tension. “The PAC urged governments in both capitals to go beyond rhetoric, deepen the process of dialogue and broaden the scope of political engagement keeping Jammu and Kashmir front and centre of the process to make it result oriented and sustainable,” the meeting resolved.

Condemning use of central agencies to “coerce and muzzle” Mufti, the members expressed their solidarity with the party chief and resolved to standby by her and the party in the fight for restoration of the “rights and dignity of people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

Among those present at the meeting are party vice-presidents A R Veeri and Chaudhary Abdul Hameed, general secretaries Dr Mehboob Beig, G N Lone Hanjura, Nizam ud din Bhat, Sardar Amreek Singh, Arshid Malik, and PAC members Sofi Abdul Gaffar, Zahoor Ahmad Mir, Advocate Mohd Yusuf Bhat, Master Tasaduq Hussain and Firdous Tak.

Senior leaders and PAC members Mohammad Sartaj Madni and Naeem Akhtar were absent due to their continued detention. The PAC also rejected charges levelled against the party’s youth president, Waheed ur Rehman Para. They termed his detention a part of political witch-hunt and demanded his immediate release.

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