Farooq bats for direct talks with Pak

Excelsior Correspondent
KATHUA, Nov 26: Natio-nal Conference president and former Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah said today that both Centre and State Governments have no “Kashmir Policy” and have made Jammu and Kashmir as an “experiment ground” as he batted for “direct talks with Pakistan” to resolve the issues including Kashmir problem.
Speaking to reporters after attending a private function in the town here this afternoon, Dr Abdullah said the Centre Government should directly open “channels of communication” with Pakistan as the people living in the border areas were suffering due to frequent ceasefire violations, leading to heavy mortar shelling and firing that caused lot of problems to the people.
“The Government of India should talk to Pakistan for achieving better results on Jammu and Kashmir. Appointment of Interlo-cutors is not going to serve any purpose as such experiments were ordered in past also but action was never taken on their reports,” the National Conference president said.
He recalled that direct talks were held between the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and his Pakistani counterpart Parvez Musharraf, he, however, said that the talks didn’t materialize then but stressed that the present Government should take such an initiative now.
Replying to a question on appointment of Dineshwar Sharma as new Interlocutor on Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah asked: “why should the Centre Government send Interlocutor again”? Already, the Interlocutors were appointed and they have submitted their recommendations. Even our present Governor NN Vohra had served as an Interlocutor. The Government should act on their reports, he asserted.
Taking BJP-led Government at the Centre and PDP-BJP Government in J&K to task, Farooq said they have no policy on Kashmir.
“One day, they order arrest of all stone pelters. Later, they direct their release. I’m unable to understand how this Government works,” he said, adding that security situation was not good in Jammu and Kashmir as was being claimed by the Centre and State Governments.
“Only yesterday, we saw the killing of an Army jawan by the militants, who had come to his house on leave. They (the Centre and State) claimed that peace has been restored. If their claim is true, why the killings are taking place,”?, he asked.
Maintaining that situation was not good in Kashmir, Dr Abdullah said the people in the Valley were feeling unsafe. “The people are worried about their security. Such is the situation in Kashmir but the Centre and State Governments continued to talk of peace,” he lamented.
He also charged that corruption was rampant in the present Government. “Prices of essential commodities are sky-rocketing. The common man is suffering”.
Replying to a question on United States stern warning to Pakistan on the release of 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed, Dr Abdullah said the US had never been true friend of India.
“Whenever India was in trouble, Russia has always helped India while the United States has adopted double standards. The Americans want to keep both the neighbours in good humor,” he added.
On Panchayat elections, Dr Abdullah called upon the women to take advantage of 33 per cent reservations kept for them. However, he charged the State Government with resorting to whims and fancies in reservation of Wards to suit their political interests but declared that the National Conference will emerge more stronger after the polls.
He reiterated his remarks that Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) had been with Pakistan for the last 70 years and it was not possible now to take it back.


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