Peace imperative for KPs' return: Farooq

9 May 2008
The Daily Excelsior

Jammu: Former Chief Minister and National Conference patron Dr Farooq Abdullah is not in the favour of Kashmiri Pandit migrants return to the Kashmir valley till the restoration of complete peace. In an interactive session with the members of the civil society organised by the J&K Forum for Peace and Reconciliation, Dr Abdullah said 'National Conference regime made every possible attempt to bring the migrated Kashmiri Pandits back to the Valley but everytime our efforts suffered set-back due to killings', adding 'keeping in view the past experience it would not be wise to take the community back to their home and hearths till complete peace was restored there'. What purpose their return would serve if the Government would have to deploy large number of security forces for their protection? he asked and said that instead of luring the community with packages, the Central Government should speed up whatever they have to decide with Pakistan keeping in mind the aspirations of people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions. 'The return of KPs to Valley would be real and joyful only when the Kashmir issue is resolved between the two countries and lasting peace restored', he maintained and said that the delay in resolving the Kashmir issue will only complicate the issue and both the countries will face the brunt of the same. Stressing the need to protect shrines, temples and properties of Kashmiri Pandits in Valley, Dr Abdullah said that even the crooks within the KP community were equally responsible for the loot and plunder of their properties and also of the shrines. While highlighting the pro-KP migrant steps initiated by National Conference regime, he assured that his party will struggle hard for the Kashmiri Panditsí return and resolution of their all issues. Pointing towards the statements of leaders from Pakistan and PoK, who in a seminar at New Delhi mentioned that terror camps still exist on the other side of border, the National Conference patron said that much hype should not be created about the dialogue process between the two countries till the terror camps are removed and apprehended that such camps can once again create trouble. Cursing those politicians, who mix up religion with politics for the sake of vote bank, Dr Abdullah said 'in Jammu and Kashmir such practice started in 1987 elections when Muslim United Front (MUF) set the precedence of seeking votes on the name of religion', adding 'elections should be fought only on the developmental issues and religion, caste and creed should be kept away from it'. In response to certain queries, he announced that if the National Conference comes to power itís first step would be to hold Panchayat elections with 33 per cent reservation to women. He also wanted Kashmiri Pandits to contest elections to make it to the Lower House instead of hankering on the nominations. Responding to the emerging scenario in South Asia, Dr Abdullah termed China as biggest threat to India and said that recent development vis-a-vis Chinese nuclear submarines was the indicative of the same. He suggested that Indian leadership should not ignore China from security point of view. He also stressed the need to strengthen SAARC on the pattern of European Union. Earlier, president of the Forum Jatender Bakshi delivered the welcome address.