Farooq’s statement on mediation to resolve Kashmir sparks row

Omar takes swipe at PDP-BJP alliance

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, July 21: A major controversy today broke out after former Chief Minister and National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah suggested third party mediation by China to resolve Kashmir issue, a demand that sparked debate with BJP’s ally, PDP and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi joining the issue.
While Rahul Gandhi, whose Congress party is an ally of National Conference, called Kashmir as an “internal matter of India” and opposed third party mediation, the PDP, an ally of the BJP, justified Farooq Abdullah’s demand for talks with Pakistan.
National Conference working president and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also joined the debate and supported his father saying his statement amounted to free speech.
Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, Farooq Abdullah suggested third party mediation to resolve the Kashmir issue, saying India should take the help of “friends” and that dialogue was the only solution.
Click here to watch video
He asked: “till what time should we wait?” and wondered how many more wars will India and Pakistan fight.
“The way out is through dialogue. Use your friends… Use them for dialogue to resolve the issue,” he said.
Asked if he meant that a “third party” should be involved, Abdullah said, “(US President) Donald Trump has said he wants to settle the Kashmir problem. We did not ask him for it (help). China has also said it wants to mediate in Kashmir… We are not saying (that we) hand over things to them.”
He stressed that taking help does not mean “we should hand over” the affairs to “friends”.
Abdullah referred to the wars that India and Pakistan had fought and said it was time to take “the bull by the horns”.
“You haven’t spoken for 70 years… Four wars have happened,” he said when reminded by a reporter about India’s stand that Kashmir was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.
“Till what time should we wait? Should we wait for a thousand years? You have to take the bull by the horns. You have to do it sometimes. They (Pakistan) have atom bomb, so have you. How many people will you kill? This is not the way,” Abdullah said.
“How many more wars you will fight? How much more will you damage India? The money you spent on buying planes, materials for forces … If you spend it on poor farmers, India will prosper,” he said.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who also spoke to media persons outside the Parliament later, however, differed with Farooq Abdullah’s demand for third party mediation on Kashmir saying Kashmir is an internal matter of the country and it should be solved internally.
However, he charged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his NDA Government were responsible for burning Kashmir.
On suggestions of discussions with China and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, Gandhi said, ”To those who are saying discussions on Kashmir should be held with China and Pakistan, I would say that ‘Kashmir is India’ and ‘India is Kashmir’.
“I have been saying this for a long time that Modi’s and the NDA’s policies are burning Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
“It is being said there should be discussion on Kashmir with China and Pakistan but my opinion is that Kashmir is India and India is Kashmir and this is our internal matter… our internal business and no one should interfere in it,” he said.
Union Minister of State in the PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh, without naming Farooq, said: “this statement hardly deserved any response because India’s position on the issue is very clear and it makes no difference what anybody says”.
Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju refused to give much weightage to the statement of Farooq Abdullah saying he is in the habit of raking up such issues.
However, BJP’s ally in Jammu and Kashmir, the People’s Democratic Party welcomed the statement of Farooq Abdullah to the extent of holding talks with Pakistan.
“Happy if Farooq Abdullah is asking for talks with Pakistan. If you want to resolve Kashmir issue, there is no other way,” PDP vice president, Sartaj Madni, former Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, said.
National Conference working president Omar Abdullah took to twitter to defend his father’s statement and was quick to latch on to Sartaj Madni’s stand.
“BJP’s ally PDP has welcomed Dr Abdullah’s statement. I guess that makes the BJP-PDP anti-national as well,” Omar tweeted.
Omar said: “my father isn’t a Congress party member and doesn’t need its permission or approval before he voices his opinion. It’s called free speech”. He was reacting to debate on TV channels, which highlighted Rahul’s snub to Farooq’s stand favouring Chinese mediation to resolve Kashmir.
Clarifying, Omar said: “Dr Abdullah didn’t call for mediation but said “Trump offered to help and China offered to mediate. Dr Abdullah has said friends can be used to facilitate a dialogue with Pakistan, to facilitate a solution”.
Reacting to China’s offer of playing a “constructive role” in resolving the Kashmir issue, India had earlier said its stand of resolving all matters bilaterally with Pakistan, including Jammu and Kashmir, has not changed.
Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN, had in April said the Trump administration would try and “find its place” in efforts to de-escalate India-Pakistan tensions and not wait till “something happens”.
However, Trump himself has not made any public statement on playing the role of a mediator in the Kashmir issue.
China had on July 12 said it was willing to play a “constructive role” in improving India-Pakistan ties, especially after the increased hostility along the Line of Control (LoC).
India had, however, snubbed China, insisting it was a bilateral matter between it and Pakistan.
PTI adds:- The BJP and Shiv Sena today condemned National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah’s suggestion of third party mediation to resolve the Kashmir issue.
“Abdullah must stop advancing Pakistan’s fake nuclear blackmail. Out of power, Abdullah is speaking the language of separatists and of Pakistan. His flip-flops on Kashmir reek of hypocrisy,” BJP spokesperson G V L Narsimha Rao said.
He said Abdullah must tell “his friends” in Pakistan to stop exporting terror and meddling in Kashmir.
Shiv Sena leader Arvind Sawant also “deplored” Abdullah’s comment, saying, “Kashmir is our issue. Kashmir is India’s and we will resolve the issue within the country. Nobody else is required to intervene in our matter”.
Union Minister Giriraj Singh said it is the government’s clear policy that it will “not tolerate any intervention” from a third party on the Kashmir issue.
“Till Pakistan keeps on funding terrorists, there would be no talks with Pakistan,” he said.
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy said, “In my opinion Farooq Abdullah should go to some third country…He is not talking in favour of India. Even Pakistan will not accept him”.
Claiming that dialogue was the only solution for Kashmir, Abdullah had said, “The way out is through dialogue. Use your friends… Use them for dialogue to resolve the issue”.
“Till what time should we wait? Should we wait for a thousand years? You have to take the bull by the horns. You have to do it sometimes. They (Pakistan) have atom bomb, so have you. How many people will you kill? This is not the way,” he had said.
“How many more wars will you fight? How much more will you damage India? The money you spent on buying planes, materials for forces … If you spend it on poor farmers, India will prosper,” he said.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here