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Time to tell Pakistan to return Kashmir areas: Farooq

Thursday, August 26, 2010 05:31:56 PM, IANS

PM wants 'non-lethal ways' in Kashmir, calls for task force

Calling for "non-lethal ways to manage protests" in Kashmir, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday asked the home minister to establish a "high-power  »

New Delhi: It is time to tell Pakistan "in one voice" that it should return to India parts of Kashmir under its control and the area it has gifted to China, union minister and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah said Thursday.

Participating in a debate in the Lok Sabha on the unrest in the Kashmir Valley, Abdullah, who heads the state's ruling National Conference party, said he was surprised none of the MPs mentioned about the parts of Jammu and Kashmir under Pakistani and Chinese control.

"Today, I am surprised that nobody has talked about Kashmir under Pakistan occupation which they call Azad Kashmir, nobody talked about Northern Areas of Gilgit Baltistan and Skardu, nobody talked about the territory Pakistan gave away to China," Abdullah said.

He asserted that it was the time to tell Pakistan "in one voice that it should return to us the part of Kashmir it has occupied and given away to China".

Pitching hard for the restoration of autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir, the former chief minister said if Kashmir has to remain an integral part of India "you will have to open your hearts to us".

"Kashmir has not acceded to India by force... It chose to become a part of India belonging to Gandhi and Nehru," he recalled.

"But today, I regret that when we open our hearts to you, you don't even recognise us...Every corner of our heart has India written over it. When we brought the autonomy resolution, I thought we will join hearts. But you let me down," he said, referring to the National Conference's autonomy resolution of 2000 which was trashed by the then Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance government.

"(Then prime minister Atal Bihari) Vajpayee told me he had not even read the autonomy. I pleaded before him to read it as it is all well within the ambit of the constitution," Abdullah said.

"You have to win the hearts of Kashmiris...People who have laid down their lives don't want jobs or money. They want justice," he told the house, with folded hands.

He said the role of the media in the Kashmir Valley was disappointing and the newspapers published from Srinagar were adding fuel to the fire.

Abdullah looked upwards at the press gallery in the house and again folded his hands pleading to the journalists sitting there to be objective and report facts from the Kashmir Valley.

The renewed unrest in the Kashmir Valley since June 11 has seen 64 people killed, mostly in firing by security forces, during clashes.




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