iconimg Saturday, August 01, 2015

Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times
Srinagar, January 28, 2014
In an interview to Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar, whose name had been played into a Twitter controversy in which he too figured, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah has said an “irrelevant” line of control between India and Pakistan is “the only possible solution to the Kashmir issue”.

“... If you were to create a situation wherein the lines while in existence but (are) irrelevant, I think that is the only situation. Wherein if you start from Kashmir and then you widen it, we have this grand vision of a South Asian Free Trade Area which essentially would mirror what you have in the EU,” Abdullah was quoted as saying in Daily Times.

Tarar has quoted him as saying that the only way forward would be to give up territorial “give and take policy”.

“I believe that is the only way forward. The moment we get into territorial give-and-take, we will get nowhere. We have not so far. The problem of Jammu and Kashmir has plagued our relations since 1947, and it will continue to plague our relations,” he said.

The interview had been referred to in the “Twitter controversy” concerning the late Sunanda Puskhar, wife of Union minister Shashi Tharoor.

In a series of tweets, Pushkar, who had supposedly alleged that Tarar had been stalking her husband, had also hinted she (Tarar) had made “similar overtures” towards Abdullah, who, however, told HT he was dismayed at that and requested Pushkar not to drag him into a controversy.

Abdullah had also said that he agreed to give the interview after a request from Tharoor’s office.