Hitting out at Pakistan for hailing the recent joint statement by mainstream political parties of Kashmir on committing to strive for restoration of Articles 370, National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Sunday said “we are not anyone’s puppets”.
“Pakistan has always abused mainstream political parties of Jammu and Kashmir but now suddenly they like us. Let me make it clear that we are not anyone’s puppets, neither New Delhi’s nor of anyone across the border. We are answerable to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and will work for them,” PTI quoted Abdullah as saying.
The retort by Abdullah comes days after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the declaration issued by the NC, PDP, Congress and three other parties was “not an ordinary occurrence but an important development”.
National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah addressing a press conference after all party meeting at his residence (Express photo by Shuaib Masoodi)
Last week, in a statement, signed by Farooq Abdullah, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti who remains under detention, People’s Conference chairman Sajad Lone, state Congress chief G A Mir, CPM leader M Y Tarigami and Muzaffar Shah of the J&K Awami National Conference, the parties resolved to fight for the restoration of the special status of J&K and promised to stick to the ‘Gupkar Declaration’.
The Gupkar Declaration, an a unanimous resolution that vowed to “defend identity, autonomy and special status of Jammu and Kashmir”, was passed by the mainstream parties after a meeting at Abdullah’s Gupkar Road residence on August 4, hours before the abrogation of J&K’s special status.
“We are committed to strive for restoration of Articles 370 and 35A, the constitution of J&K and restoration of the state, and any division of the state is unacceptable to us. We unanimously reiterate that there can be nothing about us without us,” the leaders said.
On cross-border terrorism, Abdullah urged Pakistan to stop sending armed men into Kashmir. “We want an end to the bloodshed in our state. All political parties in Jammu and Kashmir are committed to fight for our rights peacefully, including for what was unconstitutionally snatched away from us on August 5 last year,” he said.
At the same time, the NC leader urged both India and Pakistan to resume their dialogue “for everyone’s greater good”. “Our people are being killed on both sides of the Line of Control every time there are ceasefire violations. For God’s sake bring a halt to that”, he said.