PAGD firm on restoration of Article 370, statehood: Mehbooba Mufti

File photo of Mehbooba Mufti

Former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti Saturday said she was confident and optimistic about the restoration of Article 370.

Speaking to a selected group of media persons during an informal chat at her Fairview residence, Mufti said, “I am hopeful that the special status of Jammu and Kashmir will be restored one day.”

Mehbooba said the Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) was firm in its resolve to get back statehood and Article 370 that was abrogated on August 5, 2019.

Replying to a question on whether August 5 constitutional changes could be reversed keeping in view “huge political support” this move had drawn, Mufti said, “Nothing is irreversible or concrete to an extent that it can’t be touched.”

She said the struggle for the restoration of Article 370 was a difficult one but not impossible.

“The special status which has been taken away unconstitutionally will have to be returned through constitutional means. Our struggle will continue for the restoration of J&K’s special status through peaceful and democratic means.  This may be time consuming and require a lot of effort but it will happen,” Mufti said.

She recollected that in 1989-1990 her father and PDP founder Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, as the Union Home Minister “offered an olive branch to the separatists” but to no avail.

About the PDP’s alliance with the BharatiyaJanta Party in 2015, Mufti said a lot of “thought had gone into the government formation” and that her father and PDP founder “was not wrong for going for forming the alliance with BJP”.

“Mufti Sahab had joined hands with BJP only to cage the Jinn in the bottle so that Article 370 was not touched,” Mufti said.

Commenting on PDP joining hands with the National Conference to form PAGD, she said: “We wanted to deny BJP and its stooges any democratic space to further disempower our people.”

Mufti levelled allegations against the BJP that it was using Police and administration to pressurise the newly-elected DDC members to influence the DDC polls results.

“Although PAGD has a majority in most of the districts but BJP is making efforts so that the alliance can’t have its chairmen,” she said.

Mufti also accused the BJP of “misusing” central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to “hound political opponents”.