Omar for Indo-Pak, State-Centre talks to resolve Kashmir issue

Gun has no relevance in present scenario’

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah addressing party workers at Mandi in Poonch on Friday.

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Apr 27: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said today that his Government would continue to pursue with the Central Government the political resolution of Kashmir problem and hoped that India and Pakistan would engage themselves in talks continuously after Home Secretary level talks and likely visit of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to Pakistan on the invitation of President Asif Ali Zardari.
“Political solution to Kashmir problems was and will always remain a priority for the National Conference. We are committed to find a solution to Kashmir problem. However, at the same time, we don’t want development of the State to suffer at any cost. We want the State to march towards peace and prosperity’’, Omar said while addressing a series of public meetings at Mandi, Chandak and Surankote in Poonch district.
With today’s series of public and workers meetings and launching and inauguration of several projects, the Chief Minister has completed his four days tour of twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch, the first after taking over as working president of National Conference on April 7.
Omar told the people that the National Conference and the State Government were committed to find out a solution to Kashmir problem and have pinned high hopes on Indo-Pak dialogue especially the proposed meeting between Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and his Pakistan counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani whenever the former undertakes a visit to the neighbouring country on the invitation of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.
“We want India and Pakistan to carry forward the process of dialogue, which ultimately would lead to a solution to problem of Jammu and Kashmir’’, the Chief Minister said referring to Home Secretary level talks between India and Pakistan in May and likely talks between top leadership of the two countries.
The people of border district of Poonch wanted the Chief Minister to ensure that ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC) between troops of India and Pakistan hold on. The ceasefire, barring few exceptions of violations, was holding for last about 9 years after which a number of people living in the forward areas, who had earlier shifted to safer places, have since returned to their houses.
Omar assured the people, who had come from forward villages on the LoC, that the ceasefire would be maintained and they can live peacefully on the borders. People of some villages demanded that they should be allowed to return to their houses across the fencing so that they could get back their land and cultivate it.
Hailing the Chief Minister for visiting far off areas of Poonch, the people hoped that peace would be maintained on the forward areas.
Asserting that the Government strongly favoured talks between India and Pakistan, Omar said the talks would help remove the fear of gun.
“Once the basic issue of Kashmir was addressed, the shadow of gun will be removed once and for all’’, he said, adding the gun has no significance in the present scenario when the people were desiring for peace.
Asserting that economic development has its own significance in the State, Omar, however, maintained that it can’t resolve the basic political issues of Jammu and Kashmir, which have to be resolved peacefully and amicably.
“Not only the talks between India and Pakistan but internal dialogue between the State and the Centre also has its own significance’’, he said, adding that the State Government was committed to pursue talks with the Union Government on various issues.
Noting that only dialogue had the potential of resolving all vexed issues, the Chief Minister said in the present scenario, gun has lost its relevance and it would be better for those holding the gun to give it up and join the process of talks.
He assured the people that the State Government would continue to make efforts for restoration of permanent peace in the State in which gun would automatically become irrelevant.
Omar asked the people to strengthen the State’s pluralistic ethos and foil the nefarious designs of the vested interests aimed at dividing society in the name of region, religion and caste.
“Certain elements are bent on dividing you on various counts including those of region and religion”, he told the people asking them to demonstrate their unity against such elements.
“You will come across a set of people who try to divide you for their self interests and disturb the tranquillity and development process in the State”, he said.
He said when peace is disturbed in any part of the State its bad effects and ramifications are felt all across. “All of us are equal stakeholders in peace and development and, as such, we have to be cautious against those who attempt to create law and order situation”, he maintained.
Omar asked the workers to disseminate the initiatives taken by the Government during last three years on development and peace fronts.
“Others are selling the initiatives and achievements your Government has registered”, he told the workers asking them to make people aware of the historic public empowerment measures of the Government including those of enactment of Public Service Guarantee Act, Panchayat Raj, Right to Information Commission, Accountability Commission and Vigilance Commission.
“The list of our achievements is long and worth mentioning. While visiting various villages and interacting people you should apprise them of the works and projects launched by the Government to upgrade basic amenities and ensure all-round development in the State”, Omar told the party workers.
Omar asked them to get public grievances noted and redressed by the administration and on a political level.
“Your rapport with people at grass roots should be regular and constant. Help them on all counts relating to their genuine grievances and development”, he advised the workers asking them to work jointly with the coalition partner in the government to help fulfill the aspirations of people on peace and development fronts.
The Chief Minister told the workers to flag public cause above all considerations including those of personal ones.
“This has been the trait of National Conference and its leadership all along. You are followers and soldiers of Sher-i-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah”.
Provincial president of NC, Rattan Lal Gupta highlighted the achievements of the Government and said that NC represented aspirations of people of the State. He said the NC was committed to the development, solidarity and unity of all the three regions of the State. Vice Chairman Pahari Advisory Board Mushtaq Ahmad Bukhari and MLA Aijaz Ahmad Jan were present on the occasion
Earlier, the Chief Minister inaugurated Power Grid Station at Chandak, constructed at a cost of Rs. 13.88 crores. The commissioning of this Grid Station would accrue immediate benefit to the inhabitants of Chandak, Lasana, Mandi, Loran, Haveli, Bandi, Cheechiana and adjacent areas.
The 20 MVA Grid Station will also relieve the overloading of existing network of 132/33 KV Grid Stations at Rajouri and Darba. The Grid Station is on over an area of 37 kanals of land and its construction was taken up in hand in February 2011.
The Chief Minister said that development of power sector has been flagged one of the most important sectors by his Government. “Focused attention has been given to generate indigenous power and upgrade HT/LT system in the State”, he said adding that Jammu and Kashmir possesses greater potential for generation of hydro electricity.
“This is the area promising economic prosperity and financial self-reliance to the State. We are concentrating on this sector with added attention and comprehensive planning”, he asserted and said that major power projects have already been started while many more are in the pipeline. He said that presently 20 power projects with over 7342 MWs capacity are under execution in the State.
The Chief Minister also met various deputations who included those from different political parties, social organizations, traders associations and representing various areas.
Omar Abdullah heard them patiently and said that the genuine demands brought to his notice by the deputations would be considered positively.

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