Skirmishes between Indian and Pakistani forces were only adding to people’s sufferings and governments of both the countries should find a way to restore peace at the borders, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah said Sunday. “Unless they (India and Pakistan) find a way out, away from this (border skirmishes), people on both sides will continue to suffer and many will die. Many of our soldiers will also die and a similar situation will be on their side,” he said. The government of India must find a way forward, the NC chief said.
“What that way forward is, is up to the prime minister to decide. I am too small to suggest anything to him. But I will say the same thing to the Pakistani side, to the premier of that side. The time has come when this bloodshed must stop, and peace must be restored on the border and in the state here as well as in the area they hold on their side,” the former chief minister told reporters at the sidelines of a function here. In response to a question about heavy Pakistani shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) in Uri sector of north Kashmir, he said the shelling was not one sided but going on from both sides.
“They are shelling us and we are shelling them back. They shell us one per cent, we shell them 10 per cent as Army chief has said,” he said. On Pakistani troops targeting civilians, Abdullah said a bomb does not know where it is going to fall. The shelling is resorted to frighten the people, he said. The NC leader’s comment comes against the backdrop of a series of ceasefire violations by the Pakistani forces along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
Asked about amnesty granted by the state government to stone-pelters, the member of parliament said those released should realise that the time has come when they have to think of their careers and how to take the state out of turmoil. “We are a tourist state and no tourist will come if there is turmoil. People will suffer, they will continue to suffer and in the long run it will be the state that will become backward,” he said.
On reports of pelting of stones on a military station at Sunjuwan on Saturday, Abdullah said he had no knowledge about it. However, he said, if it had happened, the government should investigate and see whether the stone-pelters released by it were involved in the case or someone else.
Expressing concern over attempts to pitch one community against another, he said “Prime Minister Narendra Modi should try and build an India of our dreams which is for all of us, whether you are a Muslim, Hindu, Sikh or Christian.” He said the prime minister is not only for Gujarat, but for the whole country.
Abdullah also sought to defend former Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar over his purported casteist slur against Modi. Asked about Aiyar’s presence at Congress headquarters, he said “one thing you must know, Aiyar is a Tamil and Urdu is not his language. He has picked up some Urdu during his posting in Paksitan. And when he used that term, he did not mean what was made out of it by the BJP,” Abdullah said.