SRINAGAR: Supporting Centre-appointed interlocutors for their comments on involving Pakistan, the Chief Minister, Mr Omar Abdullah said the neighbouring country has a role in Jammu and Kashmir which cannot be ignored.
“Nothing what the interlocutors had said with regard to Pakistan’s role in Jammu and Kashmir is wrong. After Simla Agreement whenever talks were held with Pakistan, Kashmir has figured in it,” he told reporters in Srinagar.
Parliament had passed a resolution in 1995 calling for withdrawal of Pakistani troops from PoK, Mr Abdullah said on the sidelines of a function here.
“Rightly or wrongly, is it not making Pakistan a party. Pakistan has a role in Jammu and Kashmir. How can you ignore it?” asked the Chief Minister.
Reacting to BJP criticism of Mr Dilip Padgaonkar for his comments, the Chief Minister said it was their habit to create an issue by listening to half the story.
“(Then prime minister Atal Bihari) Vajpayee went to Lahore and spoke about resolution of Kashmir,” he said.
On the other hand, Hardline Kashmiri separatist leader, Syed Ali Geelani on Monday asked Kashmiris to boycott the interlocutors named by the central government on Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing the media at his residence, where he was placed under house arrest immediately on arrival from Delhi on Sunday, Geelani said: “The Indian government has rejected our five-point demands and, therefore, we have nothing to do with the team of interlocutors appointed by New Delhi.”
“I also appeal to the people not to meet the interlocutors and boycott their visit,” Geelani said.
Although policemen were deployed outside Geelani’s residence, no mediaperson was prevented from entering his house where he spoke to them.
The rejection of the interlocutor panel by the Hurriyat Conference has come as a big challenge for the central government representatives – Mr Padgaonkar, Ms Radha Kumar and Mr M M Ansari — who are presently on their four-day maiden visit to the valley.
Admitting that the decision not to interact with the interlocutors by both groups of the separatist Hurriyat Conference was a challenge, Mr Padgaonkar said on Sunday: “Yes, it is something we will have to overcome. We shall be knocking doors of those who do not come to meet us. There are no protocol or ego hassles with us.”
Geelani also issued a fresh protest calendar beginning October 28. It calls for shutdowns and protests up to November 8, barring October 28, 29, November 2 and 4.
He was asked about the gradual defiance of his shutdown and protest programmes by people in the Kashmir valley, which has been reeling under unrest since June 11 with 110 people being killed in firing by security forces.
“I salute the people for complete success of our resistance programme. If anybody is defying it at a personal level, that should be a matter between him and his conscience,” he said.
Geelani also endorsed the appeal of Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group, who has asked people to march to the offices of the UN Military Observers Group in Srinagar on October 27.
“Our goal is common and, therefore, I fully endorse the appeal made by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq,” Geelani said.