Sajjad Lone’s ‘treacherous’ role could be a blessing for people of Kashmir: AG Noorani

Srinagar: Noted legal luminary and columnist AG Noorani has said that National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party, the two main pro-India parties in Kashmir, should come together to safeguard the Kashmir’s special status.

“They [the NC and the PDP] must draw up a joint declaration on Kashmir’s autonomy and its future course for a settlement of the Kashmir dispute,” Noorani wrote in a column in Pakistan’s largest circulating newspaper Dawn.

The column warns that a single wrong can send Kashmir into the domain of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

“If the leaders of the two parties fail to do so the history will not forgive them. This might well be their last chance, lest carpetbaggers take over Kashmir. History will not forgive Mehbooba and Omar if they neglect the task or fail at it.”

Mehbboba Mufti and Omar Abdullah are party presidents of PDP and NC respectively and both happen to be former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir State.

The column gives a backdrop of how Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh  (RSS) made its way into Kashmir with the help of PDP after 2014 assembly elections.  It accuses former chief minister late Mufti Sayeed and former finance minister Haseeb Drabu of being “unscrupulous” in the role in getting RSS into the valley.

PDP leader Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and his three associates turned out to be more unscrupulous than suspected, writes Noorani.

He writes that defying the people’s expressed wishes and ignoring offers by the NC and the Congress, they (PDP) forged an alliance with the BJP. “Its negotiator was BJP’s general secretary, Ram Madhav, who was previously the RSS’s official spokesman. Haseeb Drabu of the PDP negotiated the terms of surrender.”

Noorani appreciated Mehbooba Mufti for her recent failed attempt to join hands with arch rival Omar Abdullah to stake claims for government formation.  “Mehbooba acted wisely in taking the initiative to seek Omar Abdullah’s support and that of his father Farooq Abdullah; as they did by responding.”

Noorani terms the attempts of Sajjad Lone, people Conference chairman and BJP’s ally in Kashmir as treacherous but looks at it positively as it could become a reason for NC and PDP to come together.

“The governor’s treachery as that of Sajjad Lone provides a blessing for the people of Kashmir — provided its leaders rise to the occasion. It provides ground for hope that the politicians will join hands to fight in defence of Kashmir’s rights which Sajjad Lone and his BJP patrons would have readily bartered away for a few crumbs of power.”

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