National Conference President and Member Parliament from Srinagar, Dr Farooq Abdullah on Friday said, “In India I am labelled as ‘Pakistani’ and a ‘terrorist’ but if I go to Pakistan they will skin me”.
Sharing his views on relations between India and Pakistan at Agenda Aajtak, Dr Abdullah said, “When former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee went to Pakistan via Lahore he could not accompany him.
“Before going to Lahore, Vajpayeeji called me and sought my advice. I did not go to Pakistan because I am a red herring for them. Pakistan will skin me if they get me and you people don’t trust me. For all of you I am Pakistani and a terrorist”, he added.
Dr Abdullah said Atal Bihari Vajpayee had proposed a formula for final settlement and that he consulted him before he went to Lahore in 1999.
“When Vajpayee went to Lahore, he proposed to Pakistan that they can keep Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and India would keep this side of Line of Control. But, that proposal could not be implemented,” Abdullah said.
Expressing his disagreement over Narendra Modi government’s Pakistan policy, Dr Abdullah said that the two countries would have to talk to resolve the 70-year-old dispute.
While underlining the four wars that India and Pakistan have fought, Abdullah said, “India and Pakistan cannot snatch the other side of Kashmir.
There needs to be a practical solution to the problem. It can come only through dialogue.”
Mentioning South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC), Abdullah stated that it was formed to achieve greater regional integration in
South Asia like that in European Union. “I had asked Mrs Gandhi who said that I want all these nations to progress on the lines of Europe,” said Abdullah.
“India and Pakistan will have to talk with each other. I want to see people visiting Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar,” he added.
Referring to peace established after the Kargil war after USA’s intervention, Abdullah stressed the need to establish peace along the LoC.
Dr Farooq Abulllah also disapproved Vajpayee government’s decision to release terrorists to spare the lives of 200 passengers in 1999 IC-814 plane hijacking. He also expressed his displeasure over the release of terrorists to secure release of Rubiya Saeed (Mufti Saeed’s daughter) before that.
“These were big blunders,” he said.
“If you could not sacrifice the lives of 200 passengers for the sake of the country, then you are doing a great harm,” he said adding that he had registered his protests at the highest level.