Former president and prime minister of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir Sardar Mohammad Abdul Qayyum Khan has ruled out the possibility of Jammu and Kashmir becoming an independent state.
According to him this was neither feasible nor desirable.
In an exclusive interview at Ashok Hotel in New Delhi, Sardar told rediff.com that attempts to resolve the Kashmir issue can begin with giving more autonomy to Kashmiris on the Indian and Pakistan sides.
"I have heard people talking about independent Kashmir. I would say that this a mental luxury and it is neither feasible nor possible," he said at the end of the first day of the 'Heart to Heart' deliberations organized jointly by the Indian Council of World Affairs and National Panther's party headed by Bhim Singh, in New Delhi.
He welcomed the peace initiative between India and Pakistan but claimed that a lobby of powerful vested interests, who is spinning money by talking about the cause of the people of Kashmir may sabotage the only link between Indian Kashmir and Pakistani Kashmir.
"The bus service between Srinagar and Muzzafarabad could be disrupted by these vested interest because they would continue to thrive so long as the dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir exists," he added.
Taking exception to the use of bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan, Sardar wondered as to what the position of Kashmiris on either side was?
Who would represent the Kashmiris on the negotiation table? Well we would have to address this question and find a solution," he said.
He refused to elaborate when asked about what he meant by saying that the Indian security forces had an agenda of their own in Kashmir. He professed to symathise with the cause of the Kashmiri Pandits but did not go beyond doing a lip service for them.
Sardar also denied the existence of any terrorist camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.