By Sahil Pandey
New Delhi [India], June 23 (ANI): Jammu and Kashmir's Apni Party chief Syed Altaf Bukhari on Wednesday took strong exception to former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti's recent remarks that Pakistan should also be involved in a dialogue for a resolution to the Kashmir issue.
"As a representative of Jammu and Kashmir, it is our firm belief that our issues will be resolved by New Delhi, not by Islamabad, Washington, or London... It could be part of an agenda which she (Mehbooba Mufti) keeps harping on," Bukhari told ANI.
Bukhari's remarks come ahead of Thursday's key meeting of political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Apni Party chief welcomed the all-party meet with Prime Minister Modi and said, "I look at it as a positive development. The Prime Minister had started a process on March 14, 2020 when a delegation of the Apni Party met him and now he has called an all-party meeting. It is a welcome step."
He said Apni Party has an amalgamation of political, social, economic and education-related issues. He stressed that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been deprived of democracy and there is a rule of bureaucracy at the grassroots level.
"The way Jammu and Kashmir special status was revoked was unfortunate. People are still in pain and anger. So Prime Minister needs to have an open heart. We also want to see the fruits of democracy. We should also have the same rights that any person of Maharashtra or Assam have," stated Bukhari.
He believes that Prime Minister's objective to call an all-party meeting is to get acquainted with the problems facing by the people of Jammu and Kashmir and political parties to view on them.
"Prime Minister Modi should find a way to assuage the pain caused by the abrogation of Article 370. The statehood of Jammu and Kashmir should be reinstated. The democratic institution should be restored and elections should be held. Since Prime Minister has called a meeting of all parties, I believe, he does not want to fix an agenda. Instead, he wants to know what problems people of Jammu and Kashmir are facing, and how political parties are looking at them." Bukhari said.
Fourteen leaders of Jammu and Kashmir have been invited for a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the national capital on June 24.
This is the first high-level interaction between the Centre and political leadership mainly from Kashmir since August 5, 2019 when the Centre revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and the state was bifurcated into two union territories.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mehbooba Mufti are among those top leaders invited for the meeting. (ANI)