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I brought Shobhaa De on board to write in favour of plebiscite, says EX Pakistan Envoy Basit

New Delhi, Aug 12 : Former Pakistani envoy to India Abdul Basit has revealed that he brought prominent socialite-columnist Shobhaa De on board to advocate for plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir after militant Burhan Wani was killed in 2016 and there was unrest in the  Valley .

In an interview with a Pakistani blogger, Farhan Virk, who calls himself a part of ‘Team IK’ (Team Imran Khan), the former Pakistani High Commissioner to India says: “We have seen how after the martyrdom of Burhan Wani, the way pellet guns were used, and Kashmir was placed under an economic blockade, Kashmir’s economy was destroyed… And there was no one in mainland India who would speak about it.

Basit’s comments come after India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, and dividing the state into two union territories – J&K and Ladakh. Pakistan has termed it an act of “annexation”.

“It was a challenge for me to convince any journalist to please write an article in the newspaper for Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. I finally found a lady journalist, Shobhaa De, who is very prominent. She wrote an article. I met her and made her understand. She wrote at the end of her article, ‘Now the time has come to resolve the Kashmir issue once and for all through a plebiscite’.”

Shobhaa De denied claims made by former Pakistan envoy to India Abdul Basit that he influenced her to write an article and said the only time she met Basit was during the Jaipur Literature Festival in January 2019

 

“The only time I met him, or rather he came and imposed himself and intruded into a small group was in January of this year at the Jaipur lit fest at a publishing party. He came and joined a small group, attempted a conversation, was snubbed and almost as good as asked to leave,” Se said, ANI reported.

The article written by De on July 17, 2016. It is titled ‘Burhan Wani is dead but he’ll live on till we find out what Kashmir really wants’.

She writes in the end: “Kashmir is a love story. A dream. A fantasy. Kashmir is a poem… an elegy. Why shatter its pristine beauty with ugly politics? Why not display enough moral courage, and talk? Let sane voices prevail over lethal bullets. Tough. But not impossible. Let’s see if the present government has the guts to go ahead with a referendum to resolve the Kashmir crisis once and for all. Let’s end the lingering pain in the region and allow Kashmiris to live in peace, with the dignity and harmony they are entitled to.”

 

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