Srinagar, Aug 17: Former Union Minister, Prof. SaifuddinSoz, Friday said he felt sad on the demise of former PM, Atal Behari Vajpayee since he respect him as a person who “stood firm for peace and cordiality between India and Pakistan.
“The Kargil War, had taken place soon after the famous Lahore Declaration which he (Vajpayee) had signed with Nawaz Sharief on February 21, 1999, had dismayed him but that too had not weakened his resolve to stand for an abiding neighbourly relations with Pakistan as he thought consistently that neighbourhood couldn’t be changed,” Soz said in an emailed statement to media here.
He added that the Vajpayee’s later summits with General Pervez Musharraf at Agra between 14–16 July, 2001 and Islamabad on 5th January, 2004 “are the important milestones in Vajpayee’s urge to establish an abiding peace between India and Pakistan.”
“He was essentially a man of peace!” Soz said adding: “Vajpayee’s famous statement on Kashmir – ‘Jamhooriat, Insaaniat and Kashmiriat’ was his response to the situation in Kashmir and that was the frame of his political ideology to find a solution to Kashmir crisis in which Kashmiris had been suffering for a long time.”
Soz said that he had met Vajpayee after his (Soz’s) vote against his confidence motion on April 17, 1999 which had cost him his government.
“I had explained to him that it was not a vote against him but against the leadership of National Conference as I had thought firmly that the NC’s relationship with BJP wouldn’t be acceptable to the people of Kashmir. He had smilingly said, “Yes, I know”,” the statement from Soz read.