March 2008 News

Delhi Not Serious On Kashmir: Farooq

10 March 2008

Srinagar: Coming down heavily on the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-led coalition government in New Delhi for ‘not being serious’ on Kashmir, National Conference patron and former chief minister Dr Farooq Abdullah today said the issue should be resolved politically and not through foreign secretary level talks between India and Pakistan. “When Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf was in command, the centre wasted two years in holding only foreign secretary level talks,” Dr Farooq said while addressing newsmen at party headquarters here. Flanked by Abdul Rahim Rather, Ali Muhammad Sagar and Mehboob Beg, he said the foreign secretaries of both countries used to deliberate on Kashmir issue for few minutes in Islamabad and New Delhi. “The issue needs political solution,” the NC patron said. Welcoming a part of statement made by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari that India and Pakistan should strengthen their friendship and move forward, Dr Farooq said the remarks about putting the Kashmir issue in cold storage was not acceptable to anybody, including him. “They have to resolve the issue which can’t be kept in cold storage,” Farooq said adding that keeping the issue in abeyance is not acceptable to people of Kashmir. He said the new government in Pakistan should remove the label of “terrorism” attached to the Muslims worldwide. “We want that Pakistan shall make progress and development in all areas ranging from education to providing of relief to the people killed during different campaigns organized in run up to the parliamentary elections,” he said. He urged the leadership of both countries including Pervez Musharraf, Asif Zardari, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and BJP president L K Advani to remove the doubts and misunderstanding and help in resolving the Kashmir issue. When asked that if NC was entering in pre-poll alliance with any party, Dr Farooq said that it would fight the elections of its own. “If after elections the party needed support to form the government, it will shake hands with parties having same ideology,” he further said. On the national front, Dr Farooq said, “NC would support the third front that is presently annoyed with the working of coalition government and would become a balancing force between Congress and BJP.” “We are holding meeting with both CPI and CPI (M) who both are distancing themselves from Congress and BJP,” he said adding the parties don’t want to help communal forces to come to power and neither they want to assist Congress. Commenting on the concretization of bunkers of paramilitary forces in valley, he said the setting up of such bunkers pooh-pooh the government claims of return of normalcy. “If my party comes in power, I will demolish all these bunkers,” Dr Farooq said. About government’s policy of recruiting candidates by the respective district administrations, the former chief minister said the order has been issued to facilitate backdoor appointments. “This is an election gimmick and I will raise the issue with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh,” Dr Farooq further said. Commenting on the five working groups formulated by Prime Minister, he said the recommendation made by four groups haven’t been implemented immediately which shows the non- seriousness of the government. “The important group on Centre-State relationship has yet to submit its report,” he further said. He said NC still stands by the autonomy resolution passed by it in assembly. “We will never divert from our agenda,” he further said. About the packages given by centre to the Congress led coalition government here, Dr Farooq said that if the same amount would have been given to his regime, they would have brought “revolution” in the state.

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