Farooq remains unapologetic on Hurriyat remarks

JAMMU:Despite being slammed for his remarks backing Hurriyat Conference, an unfazed National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah today remained unapologetic for the controversial comments and said the people of the state are united for the final settlement of the long-pending dispute.

“Why should I apologize,” he replied when asked by reporters here whether he regrets making the remarks asking his party cadres to support separatist Hurriyat Conference.

Abdullah said people of the state want a final settlement to the Kashmir dispute as it is they who are dying on both the sides of the Line of control (LoC) and the International Border (IB).

“Don’t you want a settlement or do you want bombing on the border all the time? Do you want the innocent people to die? It is the citizen of Kashmir that is dying on both the sides of the border and we are united as we want a final settlement of the dispute,” he added.

Abdullah said for an amicable solution, the government of India needs to hold talks with Pakistan besides all the stakeholders in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

“How will you resolve the Kashmir issue without talking to Pakistan? The two countries have to talk to each other.The Centre also needs to hold talks with all the stakeholders in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh to find an amicable solution to the issue”, he said.

Abdullah said while the BJP-PDP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir was holding talks with everybody including Hurriyat, he was being targeted for advocating holding of dialogues.

“Why are they blaming me? The ruling alliance PDP-BJP is holding talks with everybody. Their agenda of alliance also says that talks need to be held with Hurriyat also,” he said.

Addressing his party workers at a function to commemorate the 111th birth anniversary of his father and party founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in Srinagar three days back, Abdullah had asked the Hurriyat leaders not to go separate ways.

“Be united and we are also standing with you. Do not think of us as your enemies, we are not. But we are not ready to tread the wrong path.

So, I am telling you from this sacred place that you (Hurriyat) move forward, we are with you till your steps are on the right track and till you take this nation forward in a right manner,” he said.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has slammed Abdullah for the remarks, saying National Conference can go to any extent for the sake of gaining power in the state.