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Musharraf was right, Kashmiris will prefer independence: Congress leader sparks controversy

Saifuddin Soz, Union Minister during UPA I, also acknowledges that independence for Kashmir is not possible.

Musharraf was right, Kashmiris will prefer independence: Congress leader sparks controversy

New Delhi: Veteran Congress leader and former Union Minister Saifuddin Soz has once again sparked a major controversy by saying that former Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf was correct in assessing that given a choice, Kashmiris would want to be independent.

Soz, whose book 'Kashmir: Glimpses of History and the Story of Struggle' is set to be launched next week, has said that Musharraf was correct when he had said that the first choice of Kashmiris would be independence. "Musharraf said Kashmiris don't want to merge with Pakistan, their first choice is independence. The statement was true then and remains true now also. I say the same but I know that it is not possible," he told news agency ANI.

Soz has claimed that Musharraf had shared his view with top-ranking Pakistani officials in 2007, and had almost convinced them to accept independence for Kashmir was the only viable solution.

In his book, Soz reportedly also goes on to criticise how successive Indian governments in New Delhi have committed 'blunders' which have resulted in alienating Kashmir from India. According to a report in the Indian Express, Soz writes in his book that governments since 1953 have failed to provide a concrete solution to the Kashmir issue.

This is hardly the first time Soz has made controversial remarks and claims. Previously, he had said that terrorist Burhan Wani should have been kept alive for talks and that India - not Pakistan - is responsible for problems plaguing J&K.

Soz's most-recent statement and details outlined in his books though are likely to create a political furore once again because they come just days after BJP broke its alliance with PDP in Jammu and Kashmir. Congress has already ruled out joining hands with PDP in the state and for now, Governor's rule prevails.