J&K CM, Centre try to work out timeline

J&K CM, Centre try to work out timeline

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti did as much plain speaking she could in her talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The prime minister too is understood to have let her know what he thought was the right way forward.

As her interaction with Modi drew to a close, they appeared to be on the same page for most parts, including on a timeline to end the tension in Kashmir. That is, at least, before the Eid-ul-Zuha festival, which falls on September 12.

With a lot of preparatory work done by both sides, Mehbooba found the prime minister as much ready with a firm response just as she put forth her ideas before the Centre with a strong emphasis on “talking to all”.

Without mincing words, officials said, Mehbooba, the state’s first woman chief minister, told Modi that he must take bold political initiatives on Kashmir as was done by former prime minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee between 2002 and 2004.

That meant, as she put it, a three-pronged action plan: adopting a humane approach, involving separatists and Pakistan in substantive dialogue and arriving at a solution that reflects the contemporary geo-political realities. Her view was that the Centre should not be bothered or insist on the contours of a dialogue being within the parameters of the Constitution as a pre-condition for talks. Rather, New Delhi could adopt a formula that appeared to have worked in the case of the Naga problem: start talks and then go about fixing the contours of what can be negotiated, PDP sources said.

This approach should be the Centre’s deciding line, notwithstanding Modi’s assertion in a statement after a meeting with the Opposition parties in Kashmir this week that “we need to find a permanent and lasting solution to the problem within the framework of the Constitution”.

On her part, she was in firm agreement with the Centre’s insistence that action must be taken against troublemakers sponsored by Pakistan. The fact that she has been in power only for the last two months spurred her to assert that she must ask for “one chance” to set right the ills of the people of the state, who she said, have been living a life of pain, suffering and uncertainty and yearn for a peaceful resolution. That, perhaps, was also her best way to take forward the political process as well as the legacy of her father, the late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, who the architect of the PDP-BJP alliance after the last Assembly polls.

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