Omar Abdullah wants to re-establish the post of separate Prime Minister for Jammu and Kashmir

National Conference (NC) leader and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah on Monday said he would like to bring back the posts of “President” and “Prime Minister” for the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Addressing a public gathering here, the former Chief Minister said, “Rest of the princely states merged with the country without condition but we had said that we will have our own identity, our own constitution. We had our own “‘Sadar-e-Riyasat (President)” and “Wazir-e-Azam (Prime Minister)” too. By God’s grace, we will bring that back.”

Omar, while speaking to reporters after the address, also warned that any tampering with the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, notably, Article 370 and 35A of the Constitution, will lead to a rethinking of the state’s relationship with the nation.

“They are talking of removing Article 35 A. When they did not hear about 35A, what will they remove? As far as removing that is concerned, we won’t let that happen,” Omar said.

“A promise was made to this state and people of the state. There is no time-limit over that promise. We were not told that this was for 10 years or 20 years. We were told that as long as Jammu and Kashmir remains a part of this country, the state will continue to enjoy special status,” he went on to say.

The former Chief Minister added, “Obviously, what will be our relationship with this country if you remove that special status? Our relation is on that basis. You are talking of removing Article 370 and Article 35 A, then you will have to talk about this (rethinking Jammu-Kashmir’s relation with India) too.”

Article 370 of the Constitution grants special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir, while Article 35 (A) grants special rights and privileges to the citizens of the state.

On Saturday, PDP chief and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti had warned the Centre that if Article 370 is scrapped, the relationship with the state will cease to exist.

“If you break that bridge (Article 370)… Then you will have to renegotiate the relationship between India and Jammu and Kashmir. There will be new conditions… A Muslim majority state, would it even want to stay with you? If you scrap Article 370, your relation with Jammu and Kashmir will be over,” Mufti had said.