Srinagar: National Conference supremo Farooq Abdullah on Saturday stirred a controversy by saying that the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir belongs to Pakistan.
He said that autonomy for both parts of divided Kashmir without changing borders is the only possible solution to the Kashmir problem.
“The (PoK) part which is with Pakistan belongs to the neighbouring country and this side to India. If the Indian government wants peace it will have to talk to Pakistan and conclude that an autonomy be given to us as well as them,” the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said.
When asked to comment on interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma appointed by the Modi government, the NC supremo said, “I can't comment much on that. The interlocutor has held talks but talks alone is not the solution. This issue is between India and Pakistan. New Delhi should initiate dialogue with Islamabad as a part of Kashmir is also with them.”
"A Pakistan Minister very rightly said that you forget that the part which is yours was acquired by an Instrument of Accession. You forget Instrument of accession and say that the part is yours. If you talk about this being your part then remember the Instrument as well," the National Conference president added.
Earlier, Abdullah had said he does not have any expectations from newly-appointed J&K interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma and the only way forward in Kashmir is restoration of autonomy to the state.
Notably, the separatist leaders like the Hurriyat hawk Syed Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and others have been asking the Indian government to involve Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Jitendra Singh, while replying to a question on separatists in the Valley seeking Pakistan's involvement in any dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue said, the decision to hold talks with the neighbouring country was the prerogative of the external affairs and home ministries.
"None of us has the mandate to decide on that," he said.
Hitting out at Abdullah, Singh said, "National Conference had given up its demand for autonomy over 40 years ago when Sheikh Abdullah got himself reinstated as CM and conveniently accepted all the provisions of Indian Constitution."