Stating that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is a “part of Pakistan”, National Conference (NC) patron Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said both parts of Kashmir — in India and Pakistan — should be granted autonomy.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function at the party headquarters here, he said: “I want to tell people of India and the entire world that the part of Kashmir that is with Pakistan is part of Pakistan, and the part which is with India belongs to India. It is not going to change even if wars are fought… That part will remain with Pakistan and this part will remain with India, and both Kashmirs should be granted autonomy.’’
The former chief minister also said that Kashmir cannot survive as an independent state. “We are landlocked. We have China on one side, Pakistan on the other side and India on the third side. All three have atom bombs,” he said.
He said that while the state decided to join India out of love, the country “betrayed” the people of Kashmir and did not treat them well. “We should understand that there has been a decision (of accession), but India didn’t treat us well. India betrayed us. They did not recognise the love with which we chose to join them. That is the reason behind the current situation in Kashmir,” said Abdullah.
“Internal autonomy is our right. They (Centre) should restore it. Only then peace will return (to the Valley),” he said. ‘’The government of India should not only hold talks with the people of Jammu and Kashmir but also with Pakistan, because one part of Kashmir is with the Pakistan.’’
Referring to a statement made by Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir about PoK being a part of India, Abdullah invoked the instrument of accession signed by the then Maharaja Hari Singh with the Indian government.
“It’s very strange that a minister in Modi’s cabinet refers to the instrument of accession with reference to Pakistan-occupied 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 precedent where the facts are deliberately being muzzled,” he said.
Asked about the visit of Dineshwar Sharma, the interlocutor appointed by the Centre, he said: “I can only say that he has started dialogue, and it is only through dialogue that issues can be resolved.’’