Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday lashed out at Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and said that it is not within the latter’s power to decide if India and Pakistan are going to engage with each other. “It is not within the scope of the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister to decide if India and Pakistan are going to engage or not. But when one fights polls on that, they are settling themselves for defeat,” Omar Abdullah said at an event organised by the Bureau of Research on Industry and Economic Fundamentals titled ‘Understanding Kashmir’ here.
Abdullah said as a regional political player, he understands the limitations and said that the problem is in the “desire to attract votes,” adding that the political parties sell promises beyond their ability to deliver. Earlier in the day, Mufti said, “I appeal the Centre to revive the Lahore Declaration so that we can live peacefully in Jammu and Kashmir.” She also asserted that trade routes with Pakistan shouldn’t be blocked, instead there should be crackdown on drugs and Cannabis which are smuggled from there.
The Chief Minister’s statement came a day after she had warned the Central Government against diluting Article 370, which grants special status to the state. “Any changes in the Article 370 will not be acceptable. I won’t hesitate in saying that nobody will even hold the Tricolour in Kashmir if the article is scrapped,” she said at an event yesterday. The Lahore Declaration is a bilateral agreement and governance treaty between India and Pakistan which was signed in 1999 before the Kargil war.