Dialogue with JRL only way to settle Kashmir issue: Soz

Dialogue with JRL only way to settle Kashmir issue: Soz
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‘Mufti’s experiment has failed, made PDP highly unpopular’

NEW DELHI/SRINAGAR: Senior Congress leader and former minister in the Government of India (GoI) Saifuddin Soz, has asserted that the “meaningful political dialogue” with the joint resistance leadership (JRL) is the only way to settle the Kashmir issue.
“As for today’s Kashmir, I emphasise the fact that no amount of repression through force can settle the issue. The only course available is a meaningful political dialogue, preferably to be initiated with the Hurriyat Conference represented by the Joint Resistance Leadership,” Soz said in a statement issued here.
“It is then, that the dialogue process will move to the mainstream. What is wrong in it when NDA government is also doing the same in their own manner?” he added.
Soz, the former president of Jammu and Kashmir Congress Committee, is presently in an eye of the storm due to his book “Kashmir: Glimpses of History and the Story of Struggle”.
He said his book, published by the Rupa, is already in public domain and the “vested interests particularly the BJP” are distorting the fact.
“The BJP is dead-set to distort my views as they are organising a debate on communal lines with their eyes on general election 2019. I reiterate that the views which I have expressed in my book are my own and these have nothing to do with the Congress Party,” he remarked.
Soz said he has “merely explained how the then President of Pakistan (Parvez) Musharraf had told the Army and political class of Pakistan that even though Kashmiris would want independence, it was not possible at all”.
“He (Musharraf) had, therefore, mooted his famous ‘Formula’ of peace and dignity with India and had stressed the fact that the two closest neighbours (nuclear powers) could never settle the problem on Kashmir through war and therefore his formula that envisaged no change in borders and free movement among five erstwhile regions of the Jammu and Kashmir State (three regions with India and two regions with Pakistan) was explained in a ‘Non-Paper’ still available with two countries,” he said.
“My book suggests emphatically that the two closest neighbours and two full-fledged nuclear powers cannot live in perpetual animosity and, therefore, have to forge an abiding friendship and good neighbourly relations,” Soz said.
On the break-up of the BJP- PDP alliance, the former GoI minister said it was not a right alliance to begin with. “It was akin to an alliance of the north and the south poles. Mufti Mohammed Sayeed had undertaken an experiment, which was a failure in the past as well present,” he said.
He said the BJP stepped out of the alliance as it needs an issue in the 2019 general elections. “You will see that during the 2019 elections they will claim they broke up the alliance for the country. But the fact remains that they took the step not for the country but to save their credibility. They would fan communalism now in Jammu,” he said.
On PDP’s future in the Valley, Saifuddin Soz said the party had committed a “grave error” by forging the alliance. “They have failed and also face popular resentment. I don’t know what would happen to it in the future, but this party has become highly unpopular,” he said.
The senior Congress leader said unless the Government of India (GoI) changes its policy towards the Valley, nothing much is to happen in the region. “The state government has nothing much to do. The Centre is pursuing a wrong policy now vis-a-vis the state. It would now send more forces to the valley, more of the CRPF battalions would come here. The policy of using the brute force here would be adopted now. This policy would lead to more deaths in the Valley, but it would yield no result, no solution,” he said.
—With inputs from PTI