Saifuddin Soz supports Musharraf's Kashmir assessment; Subramanian Swamy ready to give one-way ticket to Pakistan

22 June 2018, 03:39 PM

Congress leader Saifuddin Soz on Friday triggered yet another controversy after he reinforced former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf's decade-old assessment that Kashmiris will "prefer to be independent" rather than merging with Pakistan if they are given a chance to "exercise their free will".

"In fact, this assessment of Musharraf seems to be correct even today," the former Union Minister further explained in his forthcoming book Kashmir: Glimpses of History and the Story of Struggle, which is scheduled to release next week.

"He (Musharraf) had also convinced his colleagues that the resolutions of the UN on Kashmir had constituted a redundant situation as these meant a tight-jacket for Kashmiris whether they wanted to go with India or to Pakistan," Soz went on to claim further.

The Congress leader then said that independent Kashmir is not impossible.

"Vajpayee & Musharraf had a conversation, then Manmohan-Musharraf had a discussion. Unfortunately, Musharraf went out of the system. He wanted dignified peace with India. Today, I am telling Kashmir that independence is not possible. India & Pak should talk," he tweeted.

Read | NN Exclusive | Move to block passport a conspiracy to keep me out of elections: Pervez Musharraf

Musharraf's statement came at a time when then prime minister Manmohan Singh was preparing to visit Islamabad for a decisive summit with him. The former Pakistani dictator shared his view with his top colleagues (both in the army and outside) in the Pakistani establishment in 2007, according to Saifuddin.

Meanwhile reacting strong to Saifuddin's statement, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy said, "As a central minister he (Saifuddin Soz) benefited from Centre's power when his daughter was kidnapped by JKLF. There's no use helping these people. Whoever wants to stay here can stay abiding by the Constitution, if they like Musharraf we will give them a one-way ticket to Pakistan".

"This has been a trend for Kashmir centric politicians. When they're in power they swear by Kashmir being an integral part of India. The moment they're thrown out of power they start using this separatist or semi-separatist jargon," Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on being asked about Soz's Kashmir remark on Friday.

In April, National Conference leader courted another controversy when he said the mainstream political parties in Kashmir should understand the stand taken by the separatist groups on the dialogue process. PTI quoted the Congress leader as saying.

Read | Former Pakistan Prez Pervez Musharraf: I am the biggest supporter of LeT, JuD

Last year, trouble found Saifuddin after he stated that he would like to hold a dialogue with Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani if he was not killed by security forces in 2016.

"Burhani Wani should have stayed alive so that I could have had a dialogue with him. I would have explained to him that Kashmir can become a strong bridge of friendship between India and Pakistan and he (Wani) could also be of help (in achieving it). But he is dead now," the Congress leader was quoted while talking to a leading news channel in 2017.

First Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 11:42 AM
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