Srinagar: National Conference Vice-President Omar Abdullah on Saturday welcomed the peace overtures between India and Pakistan, but said the two countries must move beyond secret talks and have an open dialogue to resolve all issues including Kashmir.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a party function in Pulwama district in south Kashmir, Omar said his party has always maintained that the betterment of not only Jammu and Kashmir, but the whole of south Asia lies in the friendship between the two countries.
“It is good that the two countries are talking about friendship rather than threatening each other, but there is still much more to do,” he said.
Referring to reports of secret talks between India and Pakistan, the NC vice-president said the two countries must have an open dialogue to address all issues.
“We have heard that secret talks were held, we wish the day would come sooner when they will sit across the table and have an open dialogue on all issues and there are a lot of issues be it J-K or something else. We want them to resolve all the issues through dialogue,” he said.
Asked about the Enforcement Directorate questioning PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, Omar said that is the price one pays for opposing the Centre’s policies.
“From J-K to Tamil Nadu, from Assam to Gujarat, Mehbooba Mufti is not the first leader and will not be the last (to be questioned by the ED). Unfortunately, for the last few years, it has been our experience that the price for opposing the Centre’s policies is a summon by these agencies. But, wherever these actions take place, they will be fought strongly,” the NC leader said.
Meanwhile as per the statement issued here, Omar said this while addressing a large gathering of party workers at party office Mujahid Manzil, in Pulwama.
He said the renewed engagement between India and Pakistan vindicates the long-standing stand of the National Conference party on the inevitability of dialogue between India and Pakistan. He said that the party has been a strong votary of greater India –Pakistan bonhomie knowing that such a step, if endured positively and sincerely, will have a positive impact on the lives of people of Jammu and Kashmir and the entire region as well.
“We have all along been reminding the ruling party the extent to which their founding member Late Vajpayee ji went in fostering good relations with our neighboring country. It was Vajpayee who had said that ‘friends can be changed not neighbors.’ NC has all along maintained that there is no substitute to dialogue, we hope and pray that this new opportunity of friendship is not lost. Unfortunately our repeated pleas for dialogue and peacemaking were made a point of ridicule by the ruling party but finally our stands vindicated in wake of the fresh diplomatic outreach in terms of DGMO level talks and IWT meeting between the two nations. We believe that PM Modi’s letter to his Pakistani counterpart is a step in the right direction. I hope that the step further helps in building an environment of trust,” he said.
Among others party’s General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar, Provincial President Nasir Aslam Wani, MP Hasnain Masoodi, district president Pulwama G M Mir, Muhammad Khalil Bandh, Adv. Abdul Rasheed Nengroo, Master Abdul Aziz also addressed the gathering. On the occasion the party’s local Parent body, YNC and town area committee chairman were also present.
Referring to the August 5, 2019 measures, he said the measures were undertaken at the pretext of ushering in development in Jammu and Kashmir. He said the state was downgraded, divided and sheared off its constitutional status in the nonappearance of its elected leaders, who he said were caged for months altogether both at in-house and out-house confinement centers to ensure that the center had a free walk in bulldozing the state’s political identity and other constitutional safeguards.
“The measures were undertaken at the pretext of flooding the region with investment, bringing about more employment and development. But so far the promised flood of investment, development, infra-up gradation is nowhere visible on ground. What is it that has been achieved by GOI? Contrary to it the entire region has been put on the path of terminal alienation and dismemberment. The striking feature of the Kashmir post August 5, 2019 has been marked by administrative inertia, development deficit, crumbling economy, and failure of the administration even to ensure basic amenities like water, electricity and connectivity to people. All the promises which were made to people in the run up for unilateral measures of August 5 have deflated. The government has lost its plot. The only thing that the GOI has been able to achieve is to put the entire region on the path of terminal alienation,” he added. (Agencies)