Best time for India to hold talks with Pakistan: Mehbooba Mufti

New Delhi | Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Monday that it was the “best time” for India to hold talks with Pakistan as the neighbouring country’s new Prime Minister, Imran Khan, is being touted as a “proxy” their army.

If initiated now, she said, the talks between the two neighbours at this time could prove “beneficial”. “If Imran (Khan) is a proxy of Pakistan’s army then this is the best time to talk. When Imran Khan says he is ready to talk, to open corridors, then I think army is also on the same page…,” Ms Mufti said at the News Channel’s event in Delhi.

She said the “best bargain” for India, vis-a-vis the Kashmir issue, was during the time when Pervez Musharraf was the President of Pakistan as during that time ceasefire was initiated at the border and the Muzaffarabad route was opened up. “The talks could be beneficial now….why should we not talk?” she asked.

Ms Mufti also said her party will “join hands” with any political party that will support the “resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir issue.” “If we can join hands with the BJP, we can do so with anyone for resolution of the J&K issue,” she said. Going with the BJP, during the last political regime in the state, was “suicidal” and that she was “disappointed” that this experiment to begin the political process in the state did not work.

Asked if she had any lessons to learn, Ms Mufti replied in the negative. “They (the BJP) didn’t teach me any lesson. I stood my ground…(in taking decisions). We experimented (through the PDP-BJP alliance) for the people of Kashmir, but that did not work,” she said. She said there was a huge difference between former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime and the current one under PM Narendra Modi.

“(Atal Bihari) Vajpayee was spontaneous and down to earth…he never looked back or over his shoulder. He was a statesman. Today’s NDA is more focussed in winning elections,” Ms Mufti claimed. “Thank God, they have not given voting rights to cows,” she said in an apparent dig on the BJP.

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