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Modi’s ex-ally asks India to hold talks with Pakistan

Updated March 12, 2019

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Mehbooba Mufti, former IHK chief minister, warns ongoing crackdown against Kashmiris can further alienate people. — AFP/File
Mehbooba Mufti, former IHK chief minister, warns ongoing crackdown against Kashmiris can further alienate people. — AFP/File

SRINAGAR: India should talk to Pakistan and political leaders in India-held Kashmir to defuse tension raised by a suicide attack on a paramilitary convoy in Pulwama that was claimed by a Kashmiri man who said was associated with Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), a militant group based in Pakistan, a former chief minister of IHK said.

Mehbooba Mufti, who was chief minister from early 2014 to June last year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party withdrew support for her regional party, said an ongoing crackdown on Kashmiris protesting Indian rule could further alienate people.

India has vowed to kill all armed Kashmiris in the Muslim-majority disputed region if they don’t give up arms, after a 20-year-old local man killed 40 paramilitaries in a suicide attack last month. Indian security forces have killed 18 Kashmiris in the region since then, the army said on Monday.

The attack nearly led to another war between the arch rivals India and Pakistan.

Indian forces claim ‘key conspirator’ of Pulwama suicide bombing shot dead

“I strongly feel that there has to be a dialogue process internally as well as externally, with Pakistan,” Mufti said in an interview. “The situation is going to get worse if some kind of political process is not initiated on the ground now.”

‘Key conspirator’

Separately, Indian police said on Monday that one of the “key conspirators” behind the Pulwama suicide attack had died in a shootout with government forces.

Mudasir Ahmed Khan, who was shot dead on Sunday, was described by authorities as a top commander with JeM.

Police in IHK said that an investigation had “revealed that Mudasir was one of the key conspirators” of the deadly attack. Mudasir was reportedly shot in Tral, a town in Pulwama district, along with another armed man.

Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2019