Srinagar: The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Tuesday said that parliamentary panel’s recommendations to grant permanent resident status to West Pakistan Refugees (WPRs) was a separate issue and had nothing to do with the government formation.
“We have informal channels open with the BJP. The talks are being held. However, the formation of government is a separate issue and has nothing to with the parliamentary panel recommendations,” PDP spokesman, Nayeem Akhter told Kashmir Reader, when asked if the fresh controversy could emerge as a hurdle to a possible PDP-BJP alliance.
“Once the talks lead to any conclusion, common minimum programme (CMP) will be formulated. And we will strictly follow the CMP,” Akhter said, adding “We will safeguard the state constitution including the special status at any cost. The Centre can’t take any unilateral decision. We will oppose it,” he sid.
The PDP spokesman said that his party is opposed to the idea of granting state subject rights to the refugees. However, Akhter refused to comment when asked if his party will take up the issue of PRCs with the BJP formally.
“I’m not discussing that now. I can’t tell you about it,” he said.
BJP’s state vice-president Ramesh Arora told Kashmir Reader that it is the prerogative of the state assembly to grant or deny permanent resident status to the West Pakistan refugees.
“This is a law that lies in the domain of the state government. If the Centre approves the recommendations and asks the state government to amend the laws, it is the state government that can take a decision about it,” he said.
He said that the issue can be discussed in the assembly once the government is formed.
When asked if there was any breakthrough in talks with the PDP, Arora said that the informal talks were still going on. He also denied that the government formation was being delayed due to assembly elections in New Delhi.
A parliamentary panel has recommended Permanent Resident Certificate and right to vote in Assembly elections for the WPRs and displaced persons (DPs) from Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK) besides a financial assistance of Rs 30 lakh per family.
The panel also recommended “de-freezing” of eight seats for displaced persons from PaK and reservation for both groups in the Assembly.
Union Home minister Rajnath Singh swiftly approved a few recommendations of the panel, including the one suggesting that WPRs shall be recruited in central paramilitary forces and a quota of seats shall be provided for their children in professional institutions like the children of Kashmiri Pandits.