SRINAGAR -- Senior National Conference leader Mustafa Kamal has kicked up a controversy by suggesting that there is nothing wrong in Pakistani flags being raised in Kashmir, but his party chief and nephew Omar Abdullah said the party "does not subscribe to these views".
Kamal, former minister in J&K and brother of National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah, questioned why the central government gets "perturbed" over raising of Pakistani flags in the Valley, and he said India should "respect" the neighbour's flag.
"What difference would raising Pakistani flags make? Now the government of India is getting restless, getting more perturbed. It is being done deliberately," the additional general secretary of the opposition party told reporters here.
"This is a flag of an independent nation of Pakistan. India has to respect it. India and Pakistan both are signatory to the United Nations' charter and they have to respect each others flags. Pakistani flag is not just a piece of cloth, the flag of J&K is not a piece of paper, the flag of India is not a piece of paper, they all have their respects," he said.
Kamal's comments come amid a row over repeated incidents of Pakistani flags being hoisted at rallies of separatists in Kashmir. This has caused unease in the central government, especially since BJP is a partner in PDP-led J&K government.
Omar Abdullah, the former chief minister of the state, said such remarks cause embarrassment. "These views of Mustafa Kamal are his views and his views alone. The party does not subscribe to these views," he told NDTV.
Noting a greater frequency of the hoisting of Pakistani flags over the past few months, Abdullah said, "I think, it is in part a reaction to the coming together of BJP and PDP. It is an alliance which people in J&K are finding very difficult to swallow."
The state's deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh was dismissive about Kamal, saying "people like these" keep making such comments for media attention.