Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who completed his first year in office on Tuesday, wants to discuss all solutions for the resolution of the Kashmir issue — from the BJP’s call for revocation of Article 370 to the PDP’s demand for self-rule — though as leader of the National Conference, he is all for greater autonomy for the state. Excerpts from an interview:
The Prime Minister’s working group has favoured autonomy for J&K. How do you see this?
I want all solutions to be discussed, from one extreme to the other. There is a multiplicity of solutions and it’s not for me to say one is better than the other. If I do so that would amount to misuse of my position. The solution can be worked out by a maximum amount of consensus.
Separatists want Pakistan included in the dialogue. What’s your take on it?
Pakistan cannot be at the same table of dialogue. All the separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani... are free to visit Pakistan. They have been visiting the Pakistani High Commission and interacting with the Pakistani establishment, willy-nilly they have included Pakistan in the dialogue.
What changes do you find now since you took over last year?
Then, I was an untested commodity. Today, the people have something to analyse. I’m not enthused by praise; nor am I depressed by criticism, because I am looking at a six-year time frame, not a year-to-year (progress).
The CBI has come out with its findings in the Shopian case but some are not convinced.
Those calling into question the credibility of the CBI and charging the Centre with dictating the findings, should recall that in the case of Pathribal (where five villagers, dubbed as terrorists and perpetrators of the massacre of 36 Sikhs in Anantnag in 2000, were killed) the army was indicted. And those charging me with manipulating the findings should know that it doesn’t suit me politically.