Srinagar: Days after being released from detention, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah Tuesday visited Gulshan Ara, mother of detained former CM and president of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti.
The meeting, which lasted for two hours, took place at Mehbooba’s Gupkar Road residence. Her daughter Iltija was also present during the meeting.
Abdullah, who is currently an MP from Srinagar constituency and also the president of the National Conference, visited Mehbooba’s Gupkar Road residence at around 4 pm.
Although his meeting with Mehbooba’s mother has raised speculation about a possible joint political front of Valley-based parties to deal with the situation after the scrapping of Article 370, Mehbooba’s family maintained the visit was a courtesy visit.
“Dr Farooq Abdullah is the senior-most politician of J&K and it was extremely nice of him to visit my grandmother. We appreciate this gesture by him,” said Iltija.
Asked if the senior NC leader discussed politics with Gulshan Ara, Iltija said it was a courtesy visit.
Sources in the PDP, however, said Abdullah mentioned about the political situation in J&K during the meeting and the need to “stand united”.
An NC spokesperson, meanwhile, said Abdullah met with Mehbooba’s family alone and the details of the meeting were only known to those present.
“It was a courtesy visit,” the spokesperson added.
Both Mehbooba and Abdullah were among those Kashmiri politicians who had signed the ‘Gupkar Declaration‘ before the revocation of Article 370. The declaration was issued after all the regional parties in J&K resolved to be united to protect the autonomy and special status of the erstwhile state.
Abdullah’s visit to the Mufti residence comes in the backdrop of the emergence of a new political party, which many in the NC and PDP perceive as a pressure tactic of the central government to force them into a dialogue.
The J&K Apni Party, headed by former PDP minister Altaf Bukhari, had recently met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
The party was launched on 8 March, drawing some if its leaders from the PDP and NC, at a time when many other political leaders continue to remain under detention.
Some political activities also resumed in the Valley after Abdullah, who was detained under the stringent Public Safety Act, was released last week.
After his release, Abdullah met his son Omar, who continues to be in detention, visited the grave of his father Sheikh Abdullah and also held several meetings with party cadres.
He also met Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad at his Gupkar Road residence.