Former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad

Azad appealed local militants to shun gun and live a peaceful life

While blaming Pakistan for "sufferings and destruction" of people of Kashmir, former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad Thursday appealed local militants to shun the path of violence.

“Pakistan has been a key player in sufferings and destruction of people of Jammu and Kashmir. The neighbouring country has failed to save their own nation (but) are relentlessly trying to lead people of J&K towards disharmony,” Azad, who last month quit Congress to form his own party, said while addressing a public gathering in south Kashmir’s Anantnag.

73-year-old Azad, who has been holding public rallies across Jammu and Kashmir after ending his five-decade association with the Congress, said the nations which walked on the path of militancy became its victims itself and lost whole generations of to the vicious cycle of death and bloodshed.

He appealed local militants to shun gun and live a peaceful life for themselves, their families and for the nation. “Gun culture has only proved disastrous and has only given pain and despair to all,” Azad, who was also the chief minister of J&K, said.

On restoration of J&K special status under Article 370, which was abrogated by the Centre in August 2019, Azad said only Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the power to restore it.

“I can’t convince the prime minister about the restoration of Article 370 but he is the man who has power and mandate to restore it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Azad has reportedly received threats from ‘The Resistance Front’, an offshoot of Lashker-e-Toiba outfit. He responded to the threat in Anantnag rally today by saying that he had not met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval before coming to Kashmir.

Threat posters that appeared on social media platforms said Azad was a “traitor” and accused him of being a “political chameleon”.