Who released Masood Azhar: Farooq asks BJP

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah Friday asked the BJP-led government at the Centre to tell to the nation who released Azhar Masood in 1999.

Farooq, according to a NC statement, made the remarks while talking to reporters on the sidelines of function organised here to mark the international women’s day.

Farooq said he had advised against the decision (to release Azhar) but the government led by Atal Behari Vajpayee went ahead and released him along with his associates to seek release of hijacked Indian Airlines passengers in Kandahar.

Farooq again reiterated dialogue between India and Pakistan, saying “this is the only option to sort out the issues.”

He said the urges and aspirations of the larger peace constituency in the sub-continent will have to be satiated by bringing thaw in the relations of the two neighbouring countries.

Farooq also promised that if his party is voted to power in Jammu and Kashmir, he would give 33 percent reservation to women in the state assembly.

“The condition of women is not very good. We talk too much about their empowerment but are doing nothing to empower them in reality. Today I promise you that if NC comes to power, we will provide 33 percent reservation to women in the state assembly,” he said, addressing a programme organised by women’s club here to mark the international women’s day.

Women are pillars of the society, Farooq said, and lashed out at the central government for “opting delay tactics” on the women reservation bill.

“We had frequent discussions in the parliament on women rights, but their (government’s) intentions are not clear on passing the bill,” he said.

He said the mindset of the entire world has changed “but not in our country.”

“They have passed all bills, expect the women reservation bill because they think if women get reservation, what would men do,” he said. “Hope the new parliament will come with a positive mind and pass the bill.”

Later, talking to reporters, Farooq disapproved of ban on Jamaat-e-Islami, saying “it is not a solution to any problem.”

“The time has come to address issues politically and unless you don’t address the issues politically, you are never going to sort out issues.”

Asked about allegations that Jamaat had links with Hizbul Mujahideen, Farooq said: “I have no knowledge of Hizb links with Jamaat. I have been the chief minister but I have not gone through any such intelligence inputs that suggest Hizb is a militant outfit of Jamaat. If I am not wrong, this militant group is run by Syed Salahuddin from other side of Kashmir.”

“I don’t know much about Jamaat today as I am not in power and don’t have access to (intelligence) agencies. Governor is in a better position to answer this,” he said.