Omar Abdullah’s straight talk is likely to go unreported in Pakistan
Eminent personalities had gathered in Islamabad in the interests of bringing peace to Kashmir. The Hurriyat was there, of course (for how could its leaders miss an opportunity meet their masters), as were leaders of Indian political parties like Mohd Yusuf Tarigami and Bhim Singh. But it was Omar Abdullah who stole the show. Cornered by some hostile Pakistani journalists during a dinner hosted by the Pakistani foreign minister, Omar gave it to them. The Daily Excelsior has verbatim reports, while Pakistani newspapers (so far) unsurprisingly downplayed his remarks. The Hindu covers the incident but does not give details, perhaps because they should be familiar to its readers.
“Jammu and Kashmir in India is exactly what it was in 1947. Not an inch of territory has been changed. Ask yourself the same question regarding the areas of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan. Does the map of J and K of Pakistan in 1947 resembles what it is now? If it doesnâ€™t, then that is the answer to your question why UN resolutions cannot be implemented.”
“I ask you a simple question did you ever here see reported incident of rape by security forces in Jammu and Kashmir prior to 1988-89. I doubt it. If you are condemning the violence by security forces, in the same breath you should be willing to condemn acts of human rights violations by militants,â€™â€™he said. [Omar Abdullah/Daily Excelsior]
He went on to distinguish between the ends of home-grown and foreign terrorists. He didn’t criticise the questionable means employed by the home-grown separatists. Perhaps that is understandable given his political necessities. But he was right to criticise India’s refusal to allow Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani to visit Pakistan — the act of refusal inflated the Geelani factor more than anything Geelani could have said and done across the border.