In another remark made by the senior Congress party leader and former Jammu & Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee President, Saifuddin Soz, said that senior leader of Independent India, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, had offered Kashmir to Pakistan in exchange of Hyderabad. As quoted by ANI, Soz said, “Sardar Patel was pragmatist and offered Kashmir to Liakat Ali Khan (then Pakistan Prime Minister). He told him ‘don’t talk of Hyderabad, talk of Kashmir; take Kashmir but don’t talk of Hyderabad’ as Khan was preparing for a war and Patel wasn’t,” at the sidelines of launch of his book, ‘Kashmir: Glimpses of History and the Story of Struggle’, on Monday.
The book launch missed the presence of any senior Congress known faces except Jairam Ramesh. As per the planned agenda, the book launch was to be inaugurated by former Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, and participate in a panel discussion with the experts, subsequently. However, P. Chidambaram decided to distance himself from the launch event after Soz made a controversial statement backing Kashmir’s autonomy. Former PM, Manmohan Singh, too remained absent in the event who was also invited by Soz. It is reported that the Congress party’s senior leader distanced themselves from the event because the remarks by Soz recently was made to gain attention to his book.
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Earlier, Soz had backed former Pakistan President Parvez Musharraf saying he spoke for peace in Kashmir by keeping the state independent and with “no border” idea. “People tell me I talk of Musharraf’s formula. It is not my idea. It is recorded that after the Lahore declaration, Musharraf had told his generals that no freedom for Kashmir was possible and that Kashmir will never be part of Pakistan. That Kashmiris will opt for Azadi but that was not possible…” said Soz recently. Recalling the 2001 Agra Summit, Soz further added, “He (Parvez Musharraf) gave the formula of no borders… Musharraf’s generals, bureaucrats and the political class there understood him,” Congress party didn’t support his statement, though.