May 2004 News

India, Pakistan will be back to square one, says Farooq Abdullah

1 May 2004
The Daily Times
Staff Report

NEW DELHI: Former Indian-held Kashmir chief minister Dr Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said the recent thaw in India-Pakistan relations would not last long because it lacked sincerity.Addressing an election rally in Kashmir, Dr Abdullah said both countries had sat on the negotiating table because of international pressure and not out of sincerity to settle the Kashmir issue. 'The dialogue will fail after some time and both countries will be back to square one,' he said.He said that India had been denying Pakistan's claim that a roadmap had been placed for talks, adding no roadmap would work if Kashmiris were not involved in the dialogue process. Dr Abdullah blamed the Indian leadership for the failure of the Agra summit in August 2001. 'President Musharraf had come to Agra with the hope to solve the Kashmir problem. The Government of India itself had generated a lot of hype about the Agra summit, but the Indian leadership's insincerity led to the talks' failure,' he said.He said that because of the stubbornness of Indian leaders, President Musharraf was left with no choice but to leave India in the 'dead of night.'He said India was not only 'dishonest' to Pakistan but it had no sympathy for Kashmiris.Dr Abdullah said that New Delhi neither trusted the Kashmiri leadership, nor was it interested in keeping its promises made to the people of Kashmir.He said the Indian government was not willing to give autonomy to Kashmir under the constitution and therefore its talks with the Maulana Abbas Ansari-led Hurriyat Conference would not bear fruit. 'Maulana Ansari will rue the day he decided to accept the dialogue offer and return from New Delhi empty- handed,' he added.


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