Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah Saturday stressed on the need for a political resolution to the Kashmir issue, which can only be achieved through talks between India and Pakistan. He added that even if the entire Indian Army is deployed in the state, it cannot defend people against militants and terrorists.
Speaking at the seminar, Good relations between India and Pakistan vital for peace in South Asia, Abdullah said that talks were the only way forward and added: “If it is not done, even Farooq Abdullah, who is speaking in front of you today, will not be there tomorrow. One or the other terrorist will come and kill him.”
“So far, we have been unable to take back and rehabilitate our Kashmiri Pandit brethren as they have apprehensions about their safety,” he said, talking about the security situation in the state.
He also reminded people of the killing of 22 Hindus in Rajouri district on the day former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was crossing Wagah in a bus. “Is this what we want…getting hapless people killed? How many forces need to be deployed in the state? Even if the entire Indian Army comes, they cannot defend people against militants and terrorist,” he said, suggesting that the only way to resolve the conflict was to sit at the negotiating table.
“I was in Poonch when mortar shells were falling in Sawjian. Such had been the situation that a body was buried after two days, only when mortar shelling stopped. For how long will we continue to suffer like this?” he asked.
Saying that there were people who did not want peace between the two countries, he said that though Nawaz Sharif is the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the real power is in the hands of the Army, which has created fear psychosis among people.
He said that when former PM Manmohan Singh had talked about finding a solution to the Kashmir issue, there was opposition to him even within his own party, with many people telling him that they will lose the elections if he talked about friendship with Pakistan.
“To hell with these elections. I believe that every election weakens India instead of strengthening it as these divide people in the name of religion,” Abdullah said.