Former Union Minister Professor Saif-ud-din Soz’s upcoming book ‘Kashmir: Glimpses of History and the Story of Struggle’, has already generated interest in Kashmir given its revealing content.
The book claims that in 1991 Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) intercept a call that led to the release of Soz’s daughter Naheed, 28, who was abducted by militants in Srinagar. The call that RAW sleuths recorded was made from Beijing by then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his information minister Maulana Kausar Niazi, asking him to convey to people concerned that the act of kidnapping was “un-Islamic act and Naheed should be released”.
Soz claims in the book that the information was shared with him by Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar. The book also claims that Chandra Shekhar had told then chief of RAW that he was happy to know that India’s communication system was in good shape and complimented the RAW for having done its duty.
Soz, an educationist who took voluntary retirement in 1983 to join politics, has been at the centre of some of the important events and happenings in Kashmir’s troubled history.
The same year Soz contested and won Baramullah seat on a National Conference ticket during Lok Sabah elections. After that Soz won three more Lok Sabah elections from the same seat for NC. He also represented NC in the Rajya Sabah during troubled 1990s.
In 1997-98, Soz became Union Minister of Environment and Forests in Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral’s cabinet.
Later, in 1998-99, Soz retained his ministry under Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, as JKNC was part of the United Front government that ruled India.
But it was a vote against Atal Behari Vajpayee’s government in 1999 that brought Soz to the limelight. His cross vote successfully dislodged Vajpayee’s government making Soz and instant hero for Congress. Soz was quickly expelled from the NC for defying party’s decision of supporting BJP.
Four year later, in 2003, Soz finally joined Congress and he was elected to the Rajya Sabha. In February 2008, Soz was appointed as President of the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh (state) Congress Committee. In January 2006, Soz was made Minister of Water Resources, in the Manmohan Singh’s cabinet. He held this position till early 2009.
In March 2015, Soz was replaced by party man Ghulam Ahmad Mir as Jammu & Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee President. After Mufti, it was Soz was the longest serving president of the Congress.
Since then Soz is engaged in the social work, but he is always a party man, who visits Delhi whenever a crisis crops up.
His book is one of the most awaited books in Kashmir currently.
– Tahir Bhat