Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and president of opposition National Conference (NC), Farooq Abdullah, said on Saturday that Pakistan-occupied- Kashmir (PoK) belongs to Pakistan and it cannot be retrieved through war.
“I tell them in plain terms – not only to Indians but also to the world –that PoK belongs to Pakistan and this side (Jammu and Kashmir) to India. This won’t change. Let them fight as many wars they want to. This won’t change,” he said while speaking to reporters here.
He also said that restoration of internal autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir as was enjoyed by it till August 9, 1953, when his father and then Prime Minister of the State, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was dismissed and detained by New Delhi, is the solution to the persisting turmoil.
“Restoration of autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir is the only viable solution to decades’ old problem. It is our right and it should be restored,” he said reiterating that “as far as the solution to other Kashmir is concerned, I have said this earlier too and I am repeating it here. That part of Kashmir will remain with Pakistan and this part with India. Only then the peace will return to the State.”
The NC leader’s statement comes close on the heels of the leaders of displaced Kashmiri Pandits meeting with the government’s ‘special representative’ Dineshwar Sharma demanding that the government at the Centre should take immediate steps to “liberate” PoK and also pave the way for carving out a separate homeland within the Kashmir Valley for minority Brahmin Hindu community.
Also, Union Minister of State for Home Hansarj Ahir had said on Friday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working to resolve the issue of PoK.
He said, “PoK is also India’s part as it is mentioned in the Instrument of Accession signed by Jammu and Kashmir’s last Maharaja Hari Singh. Since then, PoK is in control of Pakistan, and so, this issue still needs to be resolved. We, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have the guts to resolve this issue also. This is our will and considering it as the countrymen’s first responsibility, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working in this direction.”
Taking a jibe at Ahir, the NC working president and former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, had asked about the part guaranteeing Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy.
“I love how and when it suits them, they quote the Instrument of Accession signed by the Maharaja. What about the part guaranteeing J&K’s autonomy?” he wrote on Twitter on Friday.
In another tweet, he said, “You can’t pick the parts of the Instrument of Accession that suit the politics of the BJP while conveniently abrogating responsibility for the rest”.
Echoing his son, the Senior Abdullah said, “It’s very strange that a minister in Modi’s Cabinet refers to Instrument of Accession with reference to Pakistan- administered- Kashmir but conveniently forgets the three conditions under which Maharaja Hari Singh acceded to the Union of India. This is not only a negative approach but sets a dangerous precedence where the facts are deliberately being muzzled.”
He alleged that New Delhi ‘betrayed’ the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“India didn’t treat us well. India betrayed us. They didn’t recognize the love with which we chose to join them. That is the reason behind the current situation in Kashmir,” he said.
He also said, “Internal autonomy is our right. They should restore it. Only then the peace will return.”
Replying to questions, he said that independent Kashmir was not a reality as “we were landlocked and surrounded by nuclear powers like China, Pakistan and India”.
Elaborating, he said, “As I said, we are landlocked, on one side, we have China and, on the other, Pakistan and, on the third side, there is India. All three of them have atom bombs. We have nothing except Allah’s name. Those who are talking about Aazadi (independence) are wrong.”
He urged the government at the Centre to “shun rigidity on Kashmir and start meaningful and result oriented dialogue with all the stakeholders”.
Senior Abdullah who holds Srinagar constituency in Lok Sabha said that both nuclear- powered nations (India and Pakistan) need to find some way out through negotiations.
“The only solution to any conflict is dialogue which essentially forms the basis of our political stand on Kashmir. The NC has always been a votary of dialogue process and will continue to be so”, he said.
“However, the way dialogue process is being handled by the Modi-led regime at the Center, I am getting a little skeptical about its outcome,” he added.
He sought to remind the Government of the history of its political outreach to Kashmir and its outcome.
He said, “The successive governments at the Centre have never been sincere with Kashmir and its leadership. We have always been forthcoming with them. Unfortunately, the feeling was not mutual which has resulted in the growth of alienation and general mistrust among a huge section of people in the Valley towards Government of India and its initiatives”.
He added, “In spite of that, we are still hopeful of some positive outcome for the state and its people who have suffered immensely in these violent three decades of armed militancy.”