People's Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti and its senior leader Muzzaffar Hussain Baig will meet Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah in New Delhi on Tuesday. They are expected to push further on complete withdrawal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from peaceful areas of the state.
In a major development, the common minimum programme (CMP) compiled by both the PDP and the BJP to form a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir finally agreed on dialogue with Pakistan and separatists and an assurance on special status of the state. However, it remains cautious on complete withdrawal of AFSPA.
“The talks have shifted to crucial stage now. People should show patience. Announcement will come at an appropriate time. We are in no hurry,” PDP spokesperson Naeem Akhtar told HT.
Sources said the CMP pledges that the two coalition partners, BJP and PDP, will extend support to the engagement with Pakistan and will work together to create conducive atmosphere by pushing for confidence building measures (CBMs). The CMP, sources said, agreed that the two parties would work towards expanding trade and movement across the line of control (LoC) by supporting joint activities like tourism.
The two parties also pledged to work as facilitators on dialogue with all stakeholders and shades of opinion in Jammu and Kashmir, including separatist Hurriyat without mentioning or setting any preconditions for separatists. Sources said the parties agreed to maintain constitutional status of the state, without referring to Article 370.
Mehbooba’s meeting with Shah will pave way for PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while is likely to happen in a week’s time. Jammu and Kashmir is likely to see new government only in March and not this month.
The BJP with 25 seats and the PDP with 28 seats have been engaged in prolonged talks for more than seven weeks to iron out differences on contentious issues.