Abdullah For People To People Contact Across LoC

6 April 2008

Jammu: India and Pakistan should facilitate people to people contact between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), the National Conference patron and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah has said. Movement of the people across the Line of Control (LoC) will help in improving relations between the two countries and create a better conducive environment for resolving the Kashmir issue, Abdullah said addressing the day-long party convention here. Urging the party workers to work for welfare of the state and people, he stressed on value-based principled politics. Referring to party's defeat in 2002 assembly elections when the National Conference bagged only 29 assembly seats out of 87, the NC patron said that it was a great learning experience for the party and it helped in introspection. This process of introspection has strengthened the party and prepared it well to face the upcoming elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Abdullah said and complimented the party workers for keeping the flag of NC high despite the pressures. The former chief minister said in the last five and a half years NC has further consolidated its base in the state and the 2008 elections will be fought on people friendly policies. Reacting to a comment by a speaker in the convention, Abdullah said the NC and its leadership has never indulged in double speak like its political rivals. He said his party has always stood for certain ideology and has never changed its stance on basic issues pertinent to development and welfare of the state and its all regions. 'If NC is voted to power, it will also strengthen the three tier Panchayati Raj in the state and take the process of governance to the villages,' Abdullah said.