Pakistan Father Of Hurriyat Leaders, Says Farooq

22 August 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Arteev Sharma

Jammu: National Conference president and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah today described Pakistan as 'father of Hurriyat leaders' in the Kashmir valley and justified the arrest of Shabir Shah in New Delhi, saying, 'The Government of India must have thought in the best and larger interest of the country.' 'The meeting of Hurriyat leaders with Pakistani leaders is not a new thing. They have always met Pakistani leaders whenever they came. What has happened is nothing new. They keep on meeting and telling them. As far as Pakistan is concerned, it is the father of Hurriyat. What is new about it?' Farooq said on the sidelines of a function here. To a query whether India had scuttled Pakistan's attempt of making Hurriyat leaders relevant before NSA-level talks between two countries, the National Conference chief said the Hurriyat was never relevant for him. 'As far as Farooq Abdullah is concerned, they were never relevant. Find those who made them relevant. I never made them relevant,' he said. 'The Government of India has taken the decision that they are not going to allow the Hurriyat to meet Pakistani leaders. This is a due process that has been started and has culminated with the arrest. Others who will travel will be arrested,' Farooq said. Asked about his reaction to the government's decision, Farooq said, 'Who am I to question the decision of the Government of India? The government must have taken it in the best interest of the country.' Yesterday, Farooq urged Hurriyat leaders not to meet Sartaj Aziz ahead of NSA-level talks scheduled for August 23 and 24 and described the decision of Pakistan to extend the invitation to separatists as 'wrong'. Responding to another query, he said the talks should have serious discussions on terrorism. 'Terrorism is the most important issue. It is eating us that it is killing people on both sides and people have died in hundreds in terror attacks. I think that terror is the most important and this should be discussed as was cleared in Ufa agenda,' he said. Asked about claims of Indian security agencies that they had gathered fresh evidence to prove that underworld don Dawood Ibrahim had been living in Pakistan, Farooq said, 'We always knew that he is in Karachi. The only thing new is that the Government of India is going to put evidence before Sartaj Aziz and show to him that Dawood is in Pakistan.'