Kashmiris would prefer to be independent: Congress leader Saifuddin Soz stokes controversy


In a controversial statement, former Union Minister and veteran Congress leader in Jammu and Kashmir, Saifuddin Soz has suggested that Kashmiris would prefer to be independent if allowed to exercise “free will”, concurring with former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s assessment on the issue a decade back.

Soz has claimed in his upcoming book that former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf’s assessment about 10 years ago that the people of Kashmir would prefer to be independent if allowed to exercise free will appears to be correct even today.

Soz has made these revelations in his book, Kashmir: Glimpses of History and the Story of Struggle, which will be released next week. The then Pakistan President had convinced his colleagues that the resolutions of the United Nations on Kashmir had created a redundant situation as they meant a tight-jacket for Kashmiris — stay with India or go to Pakistan.

“Musharraf had explained that if Kashmiris were given a chance to exercise their free will, they would prefer to be independent. In fact, this assessment of Musharraf seems to be correct even today!” writes Soz.

His statements were met with criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), several politicians from the BJP hit back, suggesting that he relocate to Pakistan. Rajya Sabha MP, Subramanian Swamy offered him a one-way ticket to Pakistan.

Recently, Ghulam Nabi Azad, also made controversial statement by saying that the Indian Army is killing more civilians than militants in Kashmir.