Fa­rooq pitches for au­ton­omy for di­vided Kash­mir

Pakistan Observer - - KASHMIR -

BUD­HAL, Ra­jouri —Giv­ing au­ton­omy to both parts of the di­vided Jammu and Kash­mir is the only way to re­solve the Kash­mir dis­pute, former Chief Min­is­ter Fa­rooq Ab­dul­lah said on Mon­day.

Dur­ing a tour of Ra­jouri district, the Na­tional Con­fer­ence leader told party ac­tivists at Bud­hal: “Au­ton­omy to both sides of Jammu and Kash­mir is the only vi­able and re­al­is­tic so­lu­tion to the nearly seven-decade-old prob­lem that has cast dark shad­ows over the gen­er­a­tions.

“We owe peace and dig­ni­fied life to pos­ter­ity. And that can be achieved only by con­vert­ing the present di­vid­ing line between the two neigh­bour­ing coun­tries into a line of peace,” he added.

Pak­istan con­trols the north­ern third of Jammu and Kash­mir. The south­ern twothird of the state is held by In­dia.

Ab­dul­lah is on a two-day visit to Ra­jouri and Poonch dis­tricts of Jammu re­gion.

He said the hos­til­i­ties of 70 years had re­tarded growth on both sides of the Line of Con­trol and the time had come for In­dia and Pak­istan to take a bold ini­tia­tive by call­ing a spade a spade. He re­ferred to the wars of the past and con­tin­ued bor­der skir­mishes, say­ing these had only added to the mis­eries of the peo­ple of Kash­mir.

“The soft borders would open up vis­tas of eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties be­sides en­abling has­sle free ex­change of peo­ple, which in turn will be a ma­jor div­i­dend to peace and tran­quil­lity in the re­gion,” he said. Ab­dul­lah hoped that “good sense will pre­vail upon all the stake­hold­ers”. He said de­nial of au­ton­omy had brought Jammu and Kash­mir to the present morass, which if ig­nored any fur­ther could prove detri­men­tal to the larger in­ter­ests of the state.

Ab­dul­lah also spoke about al­leged di­vi­sive poli­cies be­ing pur­sued by the Naren­dra Modi govern­ment and said pol­i­tics of hate and in­tol­er­ance were against the very idea of In­dia.

He said In­dia be­longed to peo­ple of dif­fer­ent faiths and they can­not be brought into con­fronta­tion­ist sit­u­a­tions for petty pol­i­tics.—GK

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