SRINAGAR: Former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday said Pakistan is to blame for the sufferings of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and appealed to the youngsters who have taken up arms to shun the path of violence.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister also said he is not afraid of threats issued to him by any terror outfit.
Addressing a public meeting at Dak Bungalow in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, Azad said, “There are some people across the border who have not been able to set their own country right after the partition, but have taken the pledge of destroying our country and Jammu and Kashmir.
“About one lakh of our children have been killed. Some were killed by terrorists, some in encounters. Over 50,000 sisters and daughters became widows, three-four lakh children were orphaned.” The former Union minister, who recently ended his five-decade-long association with the Congress, appealed to those youngsters who have picked up guns to shun the path of violence.
“Picking up guns is not a solution. It only brings destruction in your life, to your family and to the country. Mahatma Gandhi did not pick up a gun or a sword or did not fire a missile to defeat the British. Whichever Muslim country — from Afghanistan to Iraq to Palestine — took to guns, took to militancy, was destroyed,” he said.
Responding to the reports of a threat to his life issued by The Resistance Front (TRF) — an offshoot of proscribed terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) — Azad said he is not scared of anyone.
He also said reports of his meeting with National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval before leaving for Jammu and Kashmir were false.
“I heard about the reports that terrorists have issued a threat to kill me. They have said I met (Union Home Minister) Amit Shah and Doval before coming here. I have never met Doval in my life. I swear by god. Yes, I have met Shah as he is the home minister and I was in Parliament. It was part of my work. I meet people from various parties.
“I am Ghulam-e-Nabi (the slave of the Prophet) and not anyone else’s slave. My name is Azad and my thinking is Azad (independent) as well,” the former leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha asserted.
He said he does not fear anyone and god has protected him from attacks earlier as well.
“I have been attacked 50 times in Punjab and Kashmir till now. God has saved me and he will save me. But if god takes my life, he will take it along with the life that I have lived on principles and not lies or deceit,” Azad said.