The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena today lashed out at the Congress party over party leader Saifuddin Soz’s controversial remark backing former Pakistan dictator Pervez Musharraf’s statement on Kashmir. While the BJP said that it will give such people “a one-way ticket to Pakistan”, the Shiv Sena asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi to clarify his party’s stand on the issue.
Speaking to news agency ANI, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said that anyone staying in India has to abide by the Constitution.
“As a central minister he (Saifuddin Soz) benefited from Centre’s power when his daughter was kidnapped by JKLF. There is no use for helping these people. Whoever wants to stay here can stay abiding by the Constitution, if they like Musharraf we will give them a one-way ticket (to Pakistan),” he said.
Another party Sambit Patra also reacted sharply to Soz’s statement. He accused the Congress of trying to demean India and demanded an apology from Soz.
“It is very sad that a senior Congress leader like Saifuddin Soz has said so. The Congress is repeatedly trying to demean India. The Congress should tender apology over the statement,” he said. “Gulam Nabi Azad has also demeaned Indian Army… He said that Indian Army was responsible for genocide. His statement was endorsed by none other than the terror outfit, Lashkar-e-Taiba.”
BJP’s ally Shiv Sena too suggested that Soz migrate to Pakistan and “become Musharraf’s servant”.
“Congress president Rahul Gandhi needs to reply on Saifuddin Soz’s statement. If he (SaifuddinSoz) has so much affection for Pakistan and Musharraf then he should consider migrating to Pakistan and become his servant,” Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande told ANI.
Soz, who had served as a minister in the Congress-led UPA-I government, stoked a major controversy when he said that Pervez Musharraf’s assessment over a decade ago that Kashmiris will ‘prefer to be independent if they are given a chance to exercise their free will’ appears to be correct even today. Speaking to media later, he reiterated his stand saying, “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.”
Soz’s remark comes days ahead of the release of his book in which he has suggested that the Indian government should hold a dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference before engaging the mainstream parties to find a permanent solution to the decades-old problem of Kashmir.