Srinagar: The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), in its first meeting after six months on Wednesday said that it has kept all its ‘options’ open in the struggle for restoring the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. “We have not closed any options. We will discuss it as and when they (Centre) invite us (for talks),” PAGD chairman Farooq Abdullah said after his meeting with PDP president Mehbooba Mufti. It was the first meeting of the alliance since December 2020, when it met to discuss the results of the District Development Council elections. It is also the first meeting after the People’s Conference led by Sajad Lone, who was the spokesman of the mixture, exited from the alliance this year.
Meanwhile, the PAGD after the meeting on Wednesday announced veteran CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami as its spokesperson. Asking about the rumours regarding the further division of Jammu and Kashmir, Abdullah said, “We also heard about the rumours just like you do. We do not know but we are steadfast and believe that Allah will protect us.”
Abdullah also added that the political parties have questioned the various steps taken by the Centre since August 5, 2019, and will continue to practice the legal option. He said the amalgam could not politically do much because of the current pandemic situation. “We are going through this pandemic and it is a deadly disease. Hundreds of thousands have died due to it. We have to be very careful (and) not contribute to its spread,” he added.
However, on asking if he would resign from Parliament if the Centre proceeded with further division of Jammu and Kashmir, Abdullah angrily hit out saying ‘No’.
“We have to fight this fire by staying inside Parliament. My father, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, was offered Saudi citizenship by King Faisal when he came to know that he (National Conference founder) would be arrested on his return to India. But Sheikh sahib refused, saying he has to fight the fire by staying in the fire,” the PAGD chairman stated.
Tarigami strongly stated that the debates regarding whether politicians from Kashmir should go to parliament or not should end now. “We want to assure the people that the PAGD will use every opportunity, even the weakest opportunity to resist for the people. I also want to assure the people, never ever misunderstand us, be it the people of Jammu, Kashmir or Ladakh. We shall always be on the side of the people,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)