London: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said there was no “recent evidence” to suggest that Pakistan wants to negotiate a permanent settlement to the Kashmir issue.
Omar also said that India and Pakistan do not have “good neighbourly relations” and that some people in that country would like nothing more than to see the “end” of him.
On the issue of “terrorism” in his state, the Chief Minister said militants of 16 different nationalities including those from the US and the UK have either been caught or killed in J&K.
At the same time, he made it clear that Pakistan was continuing to support militant groups across the Line of Control (LoC).
Omar spoke of Pakistan’s approach while discussing whether it was sincere in negotiating a permanent settlement woth India to the Kashmir issue.
“I haven’t seen any recent evidence of it unfortunately,” Omar said while answering questions in BBC’s ‘Hard Talk’ programme by its well-known anchor Stephen Sackur.
Asked why had he not discussed the issue with Pakistan when it was his neighbour, Omar explained,” We don’t have very good neighbourly relations.
“One of the reasons, I have about the security that you talked about and the fortified compound(in Srinagar) is because there are some people in Pakistan who like nothing more than to see an end of me.”
During the course of the interview, Omar was asked about the elaborate security at his office and home and whether there were some people in Kashmir who wanted to kill him.
Responding, Omar said, “Of course there are…but with whose support…As much as they would like guns to grow on trees in Kashmir, they don’t.”
“We don’t have arms manufacturing factories. All the weapons that are used in Kashmir to keep this militancy alive come from across the LoC, the orders, the instructions come from there,” Omar, known for his candid replies, said in an apparent reference to the role of Pakistan.
The Chief Minister also said that a majority of militants operating in his state were not Kashmiris. “There was a time in early 1990s, 100 per cent of militants in Kashmir were Kashmiris. It might surprise you to know that at the last count, more than 16 different nationalities of people have either been caught or killed in Kashmir.” – PTI