EXCLUSIVE—Hope militants, Pakistan respond positively to 'ceasefire' during Ramzan: Mufti

J&K chief minister talked to THE WEEK hours after the Centre accepted her request


Hours after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh told Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti that the Union government has accepted her plea for a suspension of operations during Ramzan in Kashmir, Mufti told THE WEEK in an exclusive interview that she hoped both the militants and Pakistan would respond positively to the gesture.

She said it was a good opportunity to stop the bloodshed in Kashmir. ''I made efforts for the ceasefire,” she said. “Others who attended the all-party meeting and supported the appeal for a ceasefire in Kashmir also helped.”

The ministry of home affairs has clarified that it is not a ceasefire but a suspension of operations during Ramzan. Only cordon and search operations will cease. The Army can continue with combat operations if specific intelligence inputs are received.

Mufti said Home Minister Rajnath Singh called her to tell her that the Union government has accepted her request. She said she was satisfied that the people's suffering would ease.

“Home minister talked to me on phone,” she said. “I think this is a good gesture on behalf of the home minister and the prime minister who have personally taken interest in this (suspension of operations).

“At the same time, I am thankful to the all-party leaders who helped us build a consensus on the issue,” she said.

Mufti said she hoped it gets a good response from militants and Pakistan. “Whatever positive contribution Pakistan can make, they should. Keeping in view the sanctity of the month of Ramzan, I hope Pakistan also contributes in maintaining peace,” she said.

On whether she would also like to appeal to ulema—body of Muslim scholars—for help, Mufti said they surely can help.

When asked about the possibility of extending the suspension of operations beyond Ramzan, Mufti said it would be premature on her part to speculate.

“We first need to see how this goes and how they respond. This move is aimed at ending the bloodshed in Kashmir and ease their sufferings.”

When asked whether she would reach out to the Hurriyat Conference on the issue of the suspension of operations, she said it is not about Hurriyat Conference or mainstream parties. “We all have stakes in it. Because all of us want to end this bloodshed, everybody has to pool in.”

When asked how she managed to convince the Union government, she said, "Allah is great.”