Mufti As Guilty As Abdullah On Salahuddin, Should Apologise: Omar

4 April 2008

Srinagar: The president of the National Conference, Omar Abdullah, today said that if Mufti Muhammad Sayeed claims Syed Salahuddin to be a creation of the 1987 elections, he (Mufti) is as responsible as Dr, Farooq Abdullah, and should admit his guilt before the public by an open apology. Omar expressed concern at the government’s announcement of 70,000 jobs, saying it was out to sell them in the open market for the forthcoming assembly elections. Addressing a press conference in Jammu on his return from the Pugwash Conference in Islamabad, Omar said that the coalition government’s announcement of providing jobs to 70,000 educated youth in the coming months was mere politicking. “This is a political ploy of the coalition partners aimed at misleading youth at the time of the elections,” he said. “The coalition government is playing an election card in the garb of an employment package as these jobs are being sold openly in the market,” he said. “If the government is really sincere about offering an employment package, these vacancies should be referred to recruitment agencies so that selections are made in a transparent manner,” he said. Referring to the Pugwash Conference, Omar said that he had presented the NC agenda and repeated the autonomy proposal. Mentioning PDP president Mahbooba Mufti by name, he said that the proposals she had advanced, she had retracted today. “The PDP raised many slogans after coming to power, but after the public reaction she has reneged on every slogan,” he said. “The troop withdrawal slogan was raised first, but when the centre did not accept, it was modified to troop reduction, and now the self-rule balloon has been pricked,” he said. “If the PDP has a self-rule roadmap, it should straight and clear present it to the Kashmiri people instead of wandering here and there,” he said. “They have nothing to offer. And people who have nothing are given to wild talk to mislead the people,” he said. “The PDP first raised the demilitarization slogan, but later demanded an increase in the rent of the (occupied) sites. I want to know what the point is in demanding a rent hike if they talk of withdrawing the troops?” he said. Omar reacted angrily to a recent statement by Mufti Muhammad Sayeed. “If Mufti sahib considers the UJC chief, Syed Salahuddin, to be a product of the 1987 elections, I ask him that while Dr. Farooq Abdullah was the chief minister at that time, he (Mufti) too was the state Congress chief. And in view of his allegations, he (Mufti) too is as responsible as Dr. Abdullah,” he said. Omar asked Mufti to accept his guilt publicly and openly apologise to the people. “One must peer into one’s own soul before slinging mud on anyone else. And one must think a hundred times before saying anything,” he said. “These people accuse the National Conference of destroying the state, but actually it is they who are the people’s culprits, because whatever they have done to the people of the state behind the scenes will only be revealed with the passage of time,” he said. Directing his remarks at journalists, Omar said that a leader of the PDP itself had put a question mark on the poll victories of Mahbooba Mufti and Mufti Muhammad Sayeed. “Therefore they have no right to point fingers at other elections,” he said. “Mufti sahib, iss hamaam mein aap bhi nangey hain,” he said. Referring to the NC’s preparations for the forthcoming polls, Omar said that his party was waiting for the election bugle to sound, and it would leap into the arena. Replying to a question, he said that the Kashmir issue was a political affair and it should be solved politically. He warned the public of what he called the coalition partners’ attempts to mislead them before the election, saying that people would have to be on their guard so that they are not exploited this time.