New Delhi [India], June 23 (ANI): Reacting sharply on PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti over her remarks on a dialogue with Pakistan for solving the Kashmir issue, Union Minister Ramdas Athawale on Wednesday said the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister must understand that talks with Islamabad cannot be held until the neigbouring country puts and end to terrorism.
Speaking to ANI, Athawale said: "How can we hold talks with Pakistan till terrorism does not stop? I want to remind Mufti that when Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji was the Prime Minister, he had called Musharraf ji here and there were talks for two days. I want to say to Mehbooba Mufti that if the lives of the people of Kashmir are to be saved, terrorism has to end."
"Every day there have been attacks on our soldiers. There have been attempts of infiltrations. In this situation, talks cannot be resumed. Mehbooba Mufti must understand that the government of India is against Pakistan's terrorism but not against Pakistan.
PDP President Mehbooba Mufti had recently said that Pakistan should also be involved in talks to resolve the Kashmir issue. She made the remark ahead of a meeting of Kashmiri leaders with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the national capital on Thursday.
Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari also slammed Mufti for her demand for talks with Pakistan and alleged that it can be part of her agenda which she keeps harping on.
"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.
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)