The Centre’s new dialogue process to resolve issues in Kashmir will not succeed until India talks to Pakistan as a part of the region belongs to them, former state chief minister Farooq Abdullah said on Saturday while also asserting that the demand for independence was wrong as it was not possible in the region.
Abdullah, who is the president of National Conference, a key regional party, was responding to queries from media persons on the appointment of Dineshwar Sharma as the Centre’s special representative for dialogues to resolve issues in Kashmir, primarily the three-decade-old insurgency.
When asked whether Sharma’s recent visit to Kashmir was successful, Abdullah said only Sharma could say anything about that.
“I can only tell that he indulged in dialogue here. But that won’t solve the issue because this is an issue between India and Pakistan,” he said, adding that the government of India has to talk to the government of Pakistan as a part of Kashmir is with them (Pakistan).
Sharma, a former chief of the Intelligence Bureau, met dozens of delegations on his three-day visit to Kashmir from November 6. However, Hurriyat leaders did not meet him nor did he visit any separatist.
Abdullah said that people have to realise that a part of Kashmir is under Indian control and another under Pakistan.
“I tell them in plain terms — not only to Indians but also to the world — that the other side belongs to Pakistan and this side to India. This won’t change. Let them fight as many wars as they want,” he said.
“And when the situation is such, they have to talk, so that we live in peace; both parts live in peace; and for that, it is imperative to grant autonomy to both the parts,” he said.
‘Independent Kashmir Not Possible’
Abdullah also maintained that the demand for independence (azadi) by separatists was wrong and an independent Kashmir was not possible as “we were landlocked and surrounded by nuclear powers China, Pakistan and India”.
“All three of them have atom bombs. We have nothing except Allah’s name. Those who are talking about azadi are talking wrong,” he said.
‘India Betrayed Kashmiris’
The NC patron also claimed that India had “betrayed” Kashmiris. “India didn’t treat us well… They didn’t recognise the love with which we chose to join them,” he said referring to the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India seven decades ago, and stated that this was the reason behind the current situation in Kashmir.
Referring to minister of state for home Hansraj Ahir’s statement that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) was a part of India, Abdullah invoked the instrument of accession signed by the then Maharaja Hari Singh with the Indian government.
“You don’t remember the instrument of accession and claim the other side of Kashmir (under Pakistan control). If that side is ours, then you should talk about the accession too. Why do you forget the conditions on which we have acceded?” Abdullah asked.
(With PTI inputs)