Veteran politician and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday said the resolution of the Kashmir issue is emerging as there is a change in the mindset of Indian and Pakistani leaders.
“I see a change in Indian and Pakistani leaders… I am quite confident that the time has come and that is why probably God has kept me alive to see a solution emerging to this problem. I hope we will have peace which we all want,” he said during the 36th annual day of the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura, at SKICC here.
Farooq’s remarks came in reaction to the statement of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who on Monday recalled his discussion with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee about the Kashmir issue. Imran said Vajpayee had told him that the Kashmir problem would have been resolved if the BJP had not lost the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. “It shows that there is a solution to the Kashmir problem and both countries were close to resolving it,” Imran said, adding former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh was also present at that meeting.
“I want to walk freely without any security. My daughters, my friends, my colleagues and people should work without any tragedy. I hope it will happen and I hope you all will pray for this,” he said. The former CM said the secular character of India was at stake due to polarisation in the name of religion.
“India is going through a major change. It is not Ram and Allah that will give votes to politicians. People have to decide whom to give their votes. People have to rise above religion and decide their future,” he said.
The National Conference leader also called for early Assembly elections in the state.
“Democracy is essential and Governor’s rule is for a short term. I am sure peaceful elections will be held and honest people, who will serve the state, get elected. The Assembly and parliamentary polls should be held together in the state,” he said. Over the government’s approval for treating J&K Bank as a public sector undertaking, he said the move to take over the institution had been in the pipeline for a long time.