Saturday 31 July 2021
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Mehbooba calls for including Pakistan in Modi’s talks with Kashmiris

'Mehbooba ji, Md Tarigami sahib and I will attend the all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Modi. We hope to keep our agenda before the prime minister and the home minister,' Farooq Abdullah said

The former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, on 22 June said Prime Narendra Modi should hold a dialogue with Pakistan for a resolution to the Kashmir conflict and bring peace in the region.

Reacting to reports of a recent ‘quiet’ visit of Indian officials to Doha to speak with the Taliban’s political leadership, the PDP leader said, “If they can go to Doha and talk to the Taliban, they should have a dialogue with us and with Pakistan too in order to bring about a resolution.”

Mehbooba Mufti’s remarks come days ahead of a key meeting of political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Political activity picked up in the UT with political parties holding discussions over the past two days after the Centre invited leaders for a meeting with the Modi on 24 June.

On Tuesday, the leaders of the Gupkar met at Farooq Abdullah’s house in Srinagar to discuss the Centre’s invitation for an all-party meeting. The leaders of the constituent parties included Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti and (M) leader MY Tarigami.

Following the meeting, Farooq Abdullah said the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) will attend the all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Mehbooba ji, Md Tarigami sahib and I will attend the all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Modi. We hope to keep our agenda before the prime minister and the home minister,” Farooq Abdullah said.

Speaking to reporters, a member of the Gupkar alliance said there will be no compromise on Article 370 and 35A.

The remarks of Mehbooba in favour of a dialogue with Pakistan came after a top Qatari official confirmed that Indian officials made a “quiet visit” to Doha to engage the Taliban’s political leadership.

This is the first time that an official involved in talks with the Taliban has divulged information about New Delhi’s secret rendezvous with the Taliban.

Speaking at a virtual event, Qatar’s Special of the State of Qatar for Counterterrorism and Mediation of Conflict Resolution Mutlaq bin Majed Al Qahtani said, “There has been a quiet visit by Indian officials to speak with the Taliban. Why? Because not everybody is believing that the Taliban will dominate and takeover because the Taliban is a key component or is going to be a key component of the future of Afghanistan.”

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), however, has declined to comment on Qahtani’s statement.

There has been no official word or confirmation by the MEA on any engagement with the Taliban leadership since the Doha talks began or even before.

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