In a referendum, Kashmiri Muslims will vote for India: PDP Patron

‘Sajad not a threat, two-MLA party not a threat’

New Delhi: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Patron Muzaffar Hussain Baig here Thursday said Kashmiri Muslims would vote for India if the United Nations-mandated plebiscite was conducted in Jammu Kashmir.
“I believe Muslims of Kashmir will stay with India as there is no option of remaining independent,” Baig said referring to the possibility of the United Nations referendum on Kashmir at a one-day conference ‘Kashmir: The Way Forward’ organised by a Delhi-based think-tank the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.
Baig was speaking during the session ‘Recalibrating the Politics’ in conversation with senior journalist Barkha Dutt.
“There has been a radical transformation in the nature of dissent since 1947,” Baig said. “The choice in front of the people in J&K is not between India and Pakistan but between paradise and hell.”
He warned New Delhi that the present “anti-India movement” in the Valley could turn into a “pro-Islamic movement”.
When Barkha asked Baig that it was easy to use Islamic tag for disowning the situation in Kashmir, he replied that even the Hurryiat Conference was not comfortable with Islamisation of the region.
“Today in Kashmir, mothers take pride in the death of their sons as militants,” he said.
The former deputy chief minister of J&K said Kashmiri people were secular whose voice was not being heard.
“But those who kill make the headlines and the aspirations of the common Kashmiris remains unheard in this process,” he said.
“Youth control the streets, and indirectly ISI controls the streets,” the PDP leader said recalling that it was during the 2010 uprising that people responded with stones against the armed forces.
Tracing the using of stones in Kashmir, he said Kashmiris first used stones against the Mughals.
On the perception among Kashmiris that all mainstream political parties were the creation of “Indian agencies”, Baig said, “The Indian state and Indian leadership never fulfilled their promises on Kashmir, and rather changed the promises from time to time.”
He said the “communalization in India” was resulting in “radicalization in Kashmir”.
“The aim of PDP’s alliance with BJP in J&K was to make the minorities in India also the part of decision-making process but the alliance proved to be an utter failure,” Baig said.
The senior PDP said Peoples Conference (PC) Chairman Sajad Lone was not a threat to any major political party in Jammu Kashmir.
“How can a party of two MLAs become a threat to the party which has presence throughout the State,” said Baig.
Baig, who earlier expressed support for an emerging Third Front in the State, said he no longer supports the Third Front led by Sajad as the PDP President Mehbooba Mufti assured him that they would take the march of democracy ahead and also take other agendas forward.
The PDP senior leader said it was he who drafted the constitution of both PC and PDP yet remained deputy in both the parties.