After Ghulam Nabi Azad insults Army, Congress leader Saifuddin Soz bats for ‘independence of Kashmir’

The Congress Party has been caught in controversy yet again, as the veteran Congress leader and former Union Minister Saifuddin Soz has once again sparked a major controversy by saying that former Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf was correct in assessing that given a choice, Kashmiris would want to be independent.

It seems that Congress party is following a pattern, which was initiated by senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who first insulted the security forces. This is now followed by Saifuddin Soz, who calls for independence of Kashmir from India.

Soz, whose book ‘Kashmir: Glimpses of History and the Story of Struggle’ is set to be launched next week, has said that Musharraf was correct when he had said that the first choice of Kashmiris would be independence. “Musharraf said Kashmiris don’t want to merge with Pakistan, their first choice is independence. The statement was true then and remains true now also. I say the same, but I know that it is not possible,” he told news agency ANI.

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Congress veteran Saifuddin Soz also insisted in his book that the central government should first open dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference before moving to mainstream parties to find a solution to the Kashmir issue.

In his book, Soz reportedly also criticises how successive Indian governments headed by Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi have committed ‘blunders’ which have resulted in alienating Kashmir from India. Soz in his book says, that governments since 1953 have failed to provide a concrete solution to the Kashmir issue.

Soz also blamed Nehru by saying, “Nehru had realized that India’s policy had gone wrong in Kashmir and it was the greatest blunder committed by the Government of India to have dismissed and arrested the Sheikh unconstitutionally.”

Soz talks about the “so-called Musharraf-Vajpayee-Manmohan formula” which he says, they had envisaged same borders, but free movement across the region, autonomy on both the sides and demilitarization. Soz has claimed that Musharraf had shared his view with top-ranking Pakistani officials in 2007, and had almost convinced them to accept independence for Kashmir was the only viable solution.

“He (Musharraf) had also convinced his colleagues that the resolutions of the UN on Kashmir had constituted a redundant situation as this meant a tight-jacket for Kashmiris whether they wanted to go with India or to Pakistan. Musharraf had explained that if Kashmiris were given a chance to exercise their free will, they would prefer to be independent. In fact, this assessment of Musharraf seems to be correct, even today!” he writes.

This is hardly the first time Soz has made controversial remarks and claims. Previously, he had said that terrorist Burhan Wani should have been kept alive for talks and that India not Pakistan is responsible for problems plaguing J&K.

Saifuddin Soz, recently also courted controversy, after he questioned the National Human Rights Commission as to why it did not act against Major Littul Gogoi of the 53 Rashtriya Rifles for tying a protester to his jeep.

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