Pakistan on suicidal path on Kashmir: M.J. Akbar

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) The government on Wednesday warned Pakistan that it is pursuing a self destructive and “suicidal” policy over Kashmir and said its attempts to push terrorism will harm Islamabad.

“If Pakistan feels that it will keep playing with terrorism and use it as a tool against India, then we can tackle the challenge. But they won’t be able to tackle it. You (Pakistan) are committing suicide,” Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar said in the Lok Sabha making a brief intervention during the debate on the situation in the Kashmir valley.

“When children were killed in Peshawar terror attack, India had unequivocally condemned it. But Burhan Wani (Hizb-ul Mujahideen leader) was killed, Pakistan is observing ‘black day’,” Akbar said, adding that it was “unfortunate”.

Akbar stressed that while the house debates such a sensitive issue the members should rise above party affiliations and speak in one voice.

Stressing on the importance of a comprehensive policy to resolve the Kashmir problem, the minister said: “Even I have Kashmiri connection as my mother was from that state. So all young people in Kashmir are like our own children.”

He said “some of these youngsters have been either spoiled or misguided”, adding that the challenge before the nation is to ensure that “we are able to take these young people along with us”.

Akbar sought to compare the existing situation in the state as “mausumi hawa (temporary)”, but also cautioned “ki yeh toofan bhi ho sakta hae (This may turn into a storm)”.

However, he said the challenge can be met by the “Kashmiriyat and insaniyat (humanity) of Kashmir” as there is inherent virtues of basic humanity in the philosophy of Kashmir.

Earlier initiating the discussion, Jyotiraditya Scindia of the Congress criticised the government’s Kashmir policy and claimed that the good work done by the previous UPA government between 2004 and 2014 has been done away with.

“This government is being irresponsible towards Kashmir while during the UPA regime peace, harmony and developmental works were established,” he said.

Scindia lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying when Kashmir was on the boil the prime minister was beating drums abroad and “failed to utter even a single word” to condemn the violence.

The Congress member said the Pakistan policy of the Modi government has turned into a “tamasha (spectacle)”.

“The foreign policy has totally failed. Earlier BJP leaders used to talk about hard steps towards Pakistan. Now when they are in power, they are using soft words like ‘dismayed’ on Islamabad’s stand justifying the violence in Kashmir,” he said.

Anurag Thakur of the BJP cautioned that while Pakistan is trying to play with fire, “we should be careful that domestic politics is not responsible to add fuel to it”.

He urged the Union Home Minister to answer specifically as to who really was “behind the present unrest” in the Valley.

“If Pakistan is doing all this, we should also know what is the government going to do about it,” Thakur said.

Among others, Muzaffar Hussain Baig of the PDP, Bhagwant Mann of the Aam Aadmi Party, Kalyan Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress and Jaiprakash Narain Yadav of the RJD participated in the debate.

Baig’s remarks on the history of Kashmir and the role of towering personalities like Sheikh Abdullah provoked strong reactions from the opposition members.

When the opposition members wanted to stop Baig from speaking, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs S.S. Ahluwalia said: “The representative from Kashmir should be allowed to speak his mind in the tallest temple of democracy.”

Baig said the central government should immediately chalk out a roadmap for Kashmir “which will have balance, patience, positive approach and dialogue”.

–IANS

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