National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday said time had come for India as the bigger country to find ways of talking with Pakistan and finding a solution to the Jammu and Kashmir problem. War has not and cannot provide a solution to the problems as confrontation only leads to increase in tragedies, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said. “… if you have to fight terrorism, which Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has said is a world over thing, then time has come for the government of India, which is the bigger country than Pakistan, to find ways and means of talking with Pakistan and finding a way forward,” Abdullah told reporters at the National Conference headquarters in Srinagar.
The time had come, he added, for finding a final solution acceptable to the people of Pakistan, India and Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. The Lok Sabha member from Srinagar hit out at those who criticised him for his statements on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Abdullah in recent comments has dared the centre to hoist the national flag at Lal Chowk in the heart of Srinagar city before talking about unfurling it in PoK. He has also claimed that PoK cannot become a part of India. “I am not saying anything which is irrational. For 70 years, PoK has been part of Pakistan and this (J&K) has been part of India. Four wars have been fought and in these four wars, nothing has happened. They hold that territory and we hold this territory,” Abdullah said.
Abdullah said his statements were based on the “tragedy” the people of Jammu and Kashmir on either side of the Line of Control face due to hostilities along the border. “I see the tragedy my people have to face, not only in the Valley but in rest of the areas. Look at our borders. Shells come. Our women, our children, our people die… What are we trying to achieve?” he asked.
Discussing allegations that Kashmiri prisoners were thrashed inside Tihar Jail, Abdullah said Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti should visit prisoners from the state lodged in jails outside the state as her government had sent them there.
“If she is concerned about their plight, she should go there. If she finds that they are facing harassment in those jails, she should bring these prisoners back to the state’s jails,” he said.
Abdullah expressed the hope that the visit of the Centre’s special representative Dineshwar Sharma to the state would result in people telling him about their problems. He also expressed the hope that Sharma understands the need for finding a solution.
Responding to former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf calling himself the biggest supporter of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Abdullah said the group was a creation of Pakistan. “Due to it (LeT), Pakistan is getting destroyed. They had dug a grave for others but they are themselves falling into it,” he said.
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