Mehbooba Mufti

Mehbooba Mufti sworn in as Indian-held Kashmir’s first woman CM

SRINAGAR: Following the death of her father, Mehbooba Mufti was sworn in on Monday as the first woman chief minister of Indian-occupied Kashmir.

Mehbooba Mufti took the oath after her Peoples‘ Democratic Party and India‘s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ended a nearly three-month deadlock over forming the state government.

The chief ministe‘s post had fallen vacant after Mufti‘s father and PDP founder Mufti Mohammed Sayeed died in January.

Since then, Mufti was reluctant to continue her party‘s coalition with the Hindu nationalist BJP without an assurance from its leaders that they would take “confidence building” steps to improve the restiveHimalayan region.

Details of her agreement with the BJP remain unclear.

PDP controversially went into coalition in Jammu and Kashmir state with Modi‘s BJP after state elections at the end of 2014.

The PDP’s main support base is among Muslims in the Kashmir Valley, the epicentre of the freedom struggle that launched in 1989, although the party stops short of calling for independence for the restiveHimalayan region.

Freedom fighters have for decades been fighting Indian forces deployed, seeking independence or a merger of the territory with Pakistan.

The fighting has left tens of thousands dead, mostly civilians.

The region is divided between India and Pakistan, both of which claim the Himalayan territory in its entirety.

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