National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah has rejected the notion that the threat of a nuclear war would solve the Kashmir issue, asserting that the region would never be a part of Pakistan and dialogue is the best way to “move forward”.
Admitting that Kashmir has been the main agenda as far as India and Pakistan are concerned, Abdullah said, “What is important is dialogue between the two nations to get to some point of understanding.
“There is no way, by threats of war or using atom bomb and saying we have nuclear weapon, that does not solve the problem. What we have to do is find ways and means, whether it is Track II or III, to get to some position of understanding.
“One thing is absolutely clear: Borders won’t change how much countries want to change it, borders will not change.”
Abdullah said this while participating in a programme titled ‘A Conversation on Jammu and Kashmir’ with former R&AW chief A S Dulat, who has also authored a book titled ‘Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years’.
The programme was anchored by journalist Ashis Ray. Abdullah said, “They (Pakistan) are not going to get Kashmir even if they try over the sky. That is not going to happen. So why cause further miseries for nothing. Why don’t they realise it is the Muslim population dying this side and Muslim population that is dying that side.
“They bomb us and we bomb them. It is innocent people who die. How long, 65 years. Enough. I would like to tell both India and Pakistan: For God’s sake. Enough is enough. Let us get together and move forward rather than live in tragedies.”
Following the cancellation of NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan last month, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz accused India of considering itself a regional power, forgetting that Pakistan is “nuclear power”.
“(Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s India acts as if they are a regional superpower, but we are also a nuclear-armed country and we know how to defend ourselves,” Aziz had said.
Earlier this month, Pakistan Army chief General Raheel Sharif termed Kashmir an “unfinished agenda” and warned India of “unbearable damage” in case of a “long or short” war.
“If the enemy ever resorts to any misadventure, regardless of its size and scale – short or long – it will have to pay an unbearable cost,” he had said in his address to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 war with India on September 7.
But answering questions, Abdullah said “the truth is, Kashmir is never going to be part of Pakistan, whether Farooq Abdullah lives or dies. It is never going to happen in many centuries to come. So let us draw a different friendship. Come and enjoy Gulmarg, Pehlgam and the gardens Mughals made. Come and enjoy the Kashmiri dishes we cook. Give something to us as tourists.”
“I would love to see the day I can drive right through to Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore. My grandfather, my uncle are buried in Lahore. I cannot go there. When I die you can not stop my soul from going there,” he said.