Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Sunday said that the efforts of the Centre’s special interlocutor for Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, can only succeed if his final report is tabled in both Houses of Parliament for discussion, PTI reported. Abdullah said the Centre should clarify what it wanted to achieve by appointing Sharma as a special representative.
“Even before Sharma was to visit the Valley, there were different voices emerging from New Delhi including that from the minister in the Prime Minister’s Office [Jitendra Singh] who said Sharma was not an interlocutor,” Abdullah told PTI. “So we are confused about what he is and what his agenda is going to be.”
Abdullah said he did not meet Sharma during the latter’s visit to Kashmir because he thought it was of “no use”. “I thought it’s of no use until Delhi makes it clear that he has some powers and that whatever he finally recommends will be taken up in Parliament,” the National Conference chief said. “That is the only way forward.”
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister also questioned why the report submitted by a three-member team on Kashmir, during the rule of the United Progressive Alliance, had not yet been tabled in Parliament. The report had recommended “meaningful autonomy” for the state.
Abdullah defends comments on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir
Abdullah also said that Pakistan had to be involved in any effort to resolve the Kashmir issue. “When I talk about the Kashmir issue, I mean the entire Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh,” he said. “This is not only a developmental issue, but also a political issue, and this political issue also involves Pakistan, as a part of this state is with them.”
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister denied that his party had called for autonomy for the state. On Saturday, Abdullah had sparked controversy by saying that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir belonged to Pakistan.
Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Sunday flayed Abdullah for his remarks on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. “Farooq Abdullah saab bujurg vyakti hain, kabhi kabhi behki baatein karate hain [Farooq Abdullah is a senior leader, but he talks irrationally at times]”, Naqvi said.