Dr. Farooq Abdullah, National Conference patron and three-time Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, issued a stark warning, stating that Kashmir could face a fate similar to Gaza if India fails to initiate talks with Pakistan.
Abdullah referenced the wisdom of former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, quoting him, “Unlike friends, neighbors can’t be changed.” He said that the relationship akin to neighbors and friends is important for the mutual development of both nations.
Abdullah said that the stance of current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has asserted that war is not an option and all issues must be resolved through dialogue.
Abdullah questioned the absence of meaningful talks despite the stated commitment to resolving issues through peaceful means. He pointed out the eagerness of Nawaz Sharif, the likely incoming prime minister of Pakistan, for dialogue and lamented the current state of affairs.
Dr. Farooq Abdullah, as reported by the news agency Kashmir News Trust, stated, “I am sorry to say that if the Kashmir issue is not resolved through talks, then Kashmir may turn into Gaza, and we will suffer as the people of Palestine have been suffering.”
In a week marred by violence in Jammu and Kashmir, five soldiers lost their lives in an ambush in Poonch, a retired cop was fatally shot inside a Baramulla mosque, and three civilians died after being detained for questioning by troops. Abdullah, amid these incidents, has called for talks with Pakistan.
Criticizing Abdullah’s stance, BJP leader Dr Hina Shafi Bhat expressed regret, saying that the current regime won’t yield to Pakistan.
Earlier, Abdullah dismissed the BJP’s claims of normalcy since the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in 2019.
“Shouting normalcy or propagating tourist arrivals as peace will not finish terrorism. They were claiming that terrorism has finished with the abrogation of Article 370 (in 2019) but four years down the line, terrorism is still there and will not finish till we try to understand its root cause,” Mr Abdullah said on Sunday.
“I regret the killing (of the officer). Those who are claiming normalcy are silent… they tried to heal the wounds in a superficial manner rather than addressing the root cause. The commoners should understand that we are losing our soldiers, officers and commoners,” he said.
“We are part of India, we were part of India and we will remain part of India and if we have to end terrorism, we have to look for ways rather than claiming normalcy or talking about tourism which is fragile under the shadow of terrorism,” he added.