Mehbooba says no to PM on Kashmir meeting

Mehbooba Mufti stood her ground on Sunday and turned down PM`s request to her to attend Monday`s all-party meet.

Last Updated: Jul 11, 2010, 16:23 PM IST

Srinagar: Opposition PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday stuck to her decision to stay away from an all-party meeting convened by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to discuss the situation in Kashmir despite an appeal by the Prime Minister to reconsider her stand.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had spoken to Mehbooba yesterday, was understood to have impressed upon her the need for the government and the Opposition to be on the same side to tackle the current situation in violence-hit Kashmir, while requesting her to attend the all-party meet tomorrow.

Addressing a press conference here, Mehbooba said that while she had great regards for the Prime Minister, she could not attend the meeting as the state government was trying to hide its "failures".

She said that her party wanted to be "excused" from the meeting.

"I hear him (Omar) giving me an ultimatum to attend the meeting.... If I attend I become the solution, (but) if I don`t I become a part of the problem," she said. She appealed to the Prime Minister to "intervene" so that the people take his "initiative" seriously.

"The Chief Minister is on damage control, but not bothered about situation on the ground," Mehbooba claimed. The PDP leader also requested the Prime Minister to lift "curbs" on the media so that they can carry out their duties.

Mehbooba said that the Prime Minister should take the initiative to end the "crackdown" in civilian areas.

She also thanked Home Minister P Chidambaram, who she said, had also called her up yesterday.

According to PDP sources, the Chief Minister also wrote to Mehbooba that he was pained to hear about the decision of her party and and asked her to reconsider her decision. Omar had also spoken to Mehbooba on telephone.

Omar said the meeting had been convened for a comprehensive analysis of the situation and to jointly lay a road map for a better tomorrow for the people.

The invitation has been extended to all 12 recognised political parties and groups for the meeting. These were National Conference, Congress, PDP, BJP, Panthers Party, CPI-M, CPI, Peoples Democratic Forum, Democratic Party (Nationalist), Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Nationalist Congress Party.