December 2001 News

Build up pressure on Pak., says Farooq

5 December 2001
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, today sprang a surprise when he invited members of the international community to see the electoral process in the State. But at the same time, he urged the Centre to ask the global community to build up pressure on Pakistan to stop violence in the State. Dr. Abdullah's announcement came at a well-attended public meeting organised here to commemorate the birth anniversary of the National Conference founder and former Chief Minister, the late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. Though Dr. Abdullah declared that September 2002 was the deadline for the Assembly elections, he maintained that he could announce the elections any time. He came down heavily on political parties which were demanding his ouster for conducting ``free and fair'' elections under Governor's rule. Asserting that elections would be free and fair under his regime, Dr. Abdullah said: ``I am writing to the Election Commission of India for sending as many observers as they want to send. Besides, all parties at the national level could also send their observers to monitor the elections.'' However, he went a step ahead saying that if the Centre invited international community leaders to see the electoral process, he would not have any objection. It is pertinent to note that a section of separatist leaders has been demanding presence of the international community during elections in the State. On POTO, he reiterated that it was a law against terrorism and not ``innocent people''. He said any amendments made by Parliament will be applicable to J&K also.


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