There are some people with vested interests in India and Pakistan who do not want peace in Kashmir for their own survival, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah has said.
Inviting business leaders to the state for investments, Abdullah said “you will find more love from people in Kashmir than you think”.
“Some politicians in Pakistan or in India do not want to resolve the Kashmir issue, they want the instability and hatred to continue in the valley so that they could survive,” he said on Thursday night at a business event organised by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO).
There is the vested interest that wants to crack everything, Abdullah, the Member of Parliament from Srinagar, said.
“The vested interest is everywhere, be it some of the politicians, leaders or military establishment. Many are making money and unless we throw them out, the Kashmir issue would not be resolved,” the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir said.
He said the two countries have to move forward if they want peace and prosperity in the region.
Asked about the status of Kashmiri pandits and what he would like to do for their return to the valley, he said whoever wants to return, will surely return and there was a need to create a space inside the muslim community with whom they have lived harmoniously and peacefully.
He said many of the young pandits may not want to return to the valley as they have never been there and have established themselves elsewhere.
“It’s the older pandits who want to go back to the valley. Many of them have already sold their properties at throwback prices fearing that the valley will become Pakistan which was not true. So there is a need to create an area inside the Muslim community and not outside as they have lived together harmoniously and peacefully,” Abdullah said, adding that at the time of partition, the people of Kashmir chose to stay with India.
Urging businesses to visit Kashmir and invest there, he said, “We are a muslim majority state but that doesn’t mean we are not Indians. We believe India belongs to all of us. You will find more love from people over there.”
“People often say is Kashmir safe to visit? I would ask them is New Delhi safe? Anything can happen to you when you go out even in New Delhi. You can be attacked or looted. But creating a notion that Kashmir is not safe for visiting is not correct,” Abdullah said.
Even today, there are temples and mosques everywhere in Kashmir, he said, adding that people happily live together and only some people with vested interests are creating problems.
“We are not Pakistanis, we want to live with Hindustanis with love. We left everyone for this nation at the time of partition but it is very unfortunate that some of them call us traitors,” the NC chief said.
The only difference is that there are certain safeguards in Kashmir as “our Constitution gives us some special rights under Articles 35-A and 370 which should not be taken away from the people of Kashmir. It is important for the state.
“There is hope that this nation would rise, no body will be harassed, no phones would be taped, no one would be targeted and people will have liberty,” he said.
“I stand by me saying ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. When I said ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, I said that from my heart. I was even attacked by a group of people for saying that but I didn’t care about it. There are some people who will not let the country go ahead and peace prevail in the valley,” Abdullah said.
He also blamed the mainstream media for portraying a negative image of Kashmir, saying the media has played the most destructive role.
“The press is spreading lies,” Abdullah said, adding that people living with in harmony and assisting each other never makes news.
There is brotherhood in the valley and tourists visiting the state say that they have never found so much love anywhere in the country than in Kashmir, he said.
The business event was organised by the EO, a global non-profit organisation and business network of over 13,000 leading entrepreneurs in 179 chapters and 57 countries.