Defending his statements, Poonawalla says 'selective' reading has taken his tweets out of context

New Delhi, Aug. 16 (ANI): Congress-leaning political trend-watcher Tehseen Poonawalla on Friday defended his controversial statements made on the micro-blogging website Twitter on Thursday night, pertaining to relations with Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and the AFSPA, saying that his remarks have been taken completely out of context.

"I'm continuously saying, you have to read the tweets in totality, just don't read something selectively out of it," Poonawalla said.

Giving context to his multiple tweets, Poonawalla clarified that his statement which suggested that India should recognize the Prime Minister of POK commented on a larger issue which dealt with a way forward for both sides.

"I said that Prime Minister Vajpeyi and President Musharraf came closest to solving the Kashmir issue. Now, again, this is in context what I said. They had decided to make the international Line of Control, the international border. That, ofcourse, did not happen. If that were to happen, would you recognize their part of Kashmir and would you recognize our part of Kashmir?" Poonawalla said.

Poonawalla defended his stance on his tweeted suggestion that India should look to life the AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast region, reiterating that his remark should be seen in a holistic context.

"What I meant to say in my tweets with regard to the revoking of AFSPA-it's not just about Kashmir, it's even about the Northeast-I said we must find a mechanism of how AFSPA can be removed, at the same time given protection to the armed forces and give people their democratic rights. That's a debate that the nation should indulge in," Poonawalla said.

"You have the people of Kashmir and the people of the northeast, who are under a law which certain sections out there are opposing. ASFPA should not be there in absolute democratic societies. But, I recognize (even) in my tweet that the Army also needs to be protected. The nation needs to debate, what kind of law can we put into place where people are given their freedom as well as the armed forces are protected at the same time," he added.

Tweeting that "India on her part can give the state of Jammu and Kashmir all the autonomy, even outside the constitution but NOT outside the Indian union.... This must be understood very clearly by Pakistan," caused uproar amidst the political sphere in the country, but Poonawalla said that his statement has been completely misread.

Explaining his stance, Poonawalla said: "What I meant to say, very clearly, is if you make the LoC the international border then you have to work in the mechanism. But, if you do not make the LoC the international border, then that mechanism needs to be integrated into areas within the country-allow free trade, allow free movement-that's what I've said in those tweets; work with people outside the Constitution, but not outside the union."

He added: "You have to see them in context. I said, in my tweets, that we need to work with Kashmir (and) with the people of Kashmir in totality and we need to understand how to deal with the people of Kashmir."

Additionally, when asked about tweeting on high tension areas and issues on Independence Day, Poonawalla clarified that he did not intend to damage the morale of the Indian Army but instead was trying to initiate a discussion on a long-term solution to the problems of volatile areas of the country.

"I believe very, very categorically that first of all the armed forces are doing a great job. They are doing a tremendous, tremendous job. The point is not what message you're sending out to the armed forces or just the people of Kashmir. What I am trying to say is that this is not about today, tomorrow or a week from now. This is about a long-term solution. The long-term solution can come by debating; the long-term solution can come by discussing. We need to sit, we need to debate, we need to discuss the solution," Poonawalla said.

Earlier in the day, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Shahnawaz Hussain accused Poonawalla of making "pro-Pakistan" statements on the micro-blogging website, saying that they are "a conspiracy against India."

On Thursday night, Congress-leaning political analyst Tehseen Poonawalla had used the micro-blogging website, Twitter, to voice a series of controversial statements with regard to POK, Jammu and Kashmir and the AFSPA.

"India must recognize the Vazir-e-Azam or Prime Minister of Azad or Pak occupied Kashmir," Poonawalla tweeted.

"Pakistan must continue to recognize the elected members on the Indian side who represent the voice of their people in the Kashmir assembly," Poonawalla said on the micro-blogging website.

"India on her part can give the state of Jammu and Kashmir all the autonomy, even outside the constitution but NOT outside the Indian union.... This must be understood very clearly by Pakistan." he added.

"India can begin the process right away by withdrawing the terrible terrible inhuman law of AFSPA," Poonawalla said.

"In democracies such as ours there is no place for such draconian laws like AFSPA," he added on Twitter. (ANI)

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