For Peace With Pak, We Are Dubbed Anti-nationals: CM

30 August 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today advocated resumption of talks with Pakistan and said that the country has tried other ways of dealing with the neighbouring country. 'For God's sake, tell me what way we have other than dialogue. Have we not tried the other ways? Parliament attack took place, we stopped the dialogue. I was a Minister at the Centre at that time', said Omar while addressing the last session of 11th Legislative Assembly of the State today. Chief Minister said that Government forced teams to put pressure on Pakistan after Parliament attack. 'We formed teams and sent them to capitals of big countries to explain the reasons for stopping the talks. We prepared a list of 20 persons, saying till these people are handed over, we will not resume talks. Where are these people? How many have been handed over? Did we not resume the talks?' he asked. Omar said the Centre put a condition that till the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks are punished, it will not resume talks with Pakistan. 'Except Kasab, how many have been punished? Still talks started. Dialogue took place whether it was Congress-led alliance or BJP-led alliance,' he said. Chief Minister said that he is surprised over the reason given for calling off the latest round of talks with Pakistan. 'The meeting for 'cup of tea' between Pakistan officials and separatists have been taking place since the time P V Narsimha Rao was the Prime Minister', he said. Omar said that if we talk of peace with Pakistan we are dubbed as anti-national. 'We don't talk here of our own. We talk for the people who we represent here,' he said. 'The Council passed a resolution for resuming talks and all of us became anti-nationals. If we call for war, we become nationalists and if we call for talks, we become anti-nationals,' said Chief Minister. Omar said: 'If we talk about endangering the lives of our Army personnel by asking them to fight war and make sacrifices, it becomes big evidence of nationalism. If we want resolution of issues through dialogue, it becomes proof of anti-nationalism.' Chief Minister was referring to remarks in a section of media which dubbed legislators from the State as anti-nationals for seeking resumption of dialogue with Pakistan. 'No one among us is anti-national. We might have different thinking on different issues. Amongst us, some might talk about revoking Article 370 and some might talk about strengthening it and some might talk about autonomy, but when it comes to the nation, no one among us plays around with it,' he said. Omar said that all the parties have given sacrifices for the country and no one can be dubbed as anti-national. 'Which political party here has not made sacrifices? Did we make sacrifices for strengthening our own homes? We made sacrifices to strengthen this country and to strengthen this state. My party sacrificed 8,000 workers not for being called anti-national in a TV studio and just for seeking talks,' he said. Chief Minister said that when a legislator takes oath, he does it in the name of the country and not in the name of his party. 'So when we talk about something, if it is measured by the yardstick of nationalism or anti-nationalism, and it is decided by someone sitting in a TV studio who has never risked his life, it is surprising,' he added. Omar said that everyone in the Assembly is facing threat. 'Who amongst us here is not facing a threat, more or less? Having a PSO might be a fashion statement elsewhere, for us it is a compulsion. How many Assemblies have been attacked? This Assembly has been attacked. More than 30 persons were martyred and if they had succeeded in getting inside the Assembly, I don't know how many members would have been killed. Is this proof of anti-nationalism?' he asked. Chief Minister said that some political parties are desperate to take advantage of poll boycott call given by separatists just for petty party gains. Without naming BJP, he said conspiracy is being hatched to hoodwink electorate by utilizing the impact of poll boycott in some areas and by dividing the people in different areas. Omar appealed people to come out in huge numbers in the forthcoming Assembly Elections and elect their representatives to get their day-to-day issues highlighted at the highest forum. Chief Minister said the void they are creating for petty poll benefits cannot be bridged even after years of completion of Election. 'Let them fight in the Elections on principals and ideologies and accept the people's decision', he said. 'We are here to represent your aspirations and our success is measured on fulfilling the promises', Omar told law makers. He said the success of legislators is not measured by counting the shut downs, peace disturbances, hurdles in the normal life activities, disturbing education and health services during his tenure but on the grounds of providing relief to the people on all these counts and addressing their day-to-day needs. 'You have to strengthen the Institution of legislature to get your all problems and issues addressed properly', Chief Minister said and reiterated the importance of taking part in polling by the people in great numbers. Omar said that during the tenure of six years of the current Legislature all the difficulties and problems of the people have not been resolved but there is a sense of satisfaction in the Members that the current Assembly fully focused on the issues relating to the public good. Chief Minister said the current Assembly passed Right to Information Act, Public Services Guarantee Act, State Vigilance Commission Act and other Legislations to curb corruption. He also referred to the Third Party Monitoring, e-tendering and e-procurement put in place by the Government in this regard. Omar said that development of power remained on focus and the Government during last about six years laid foundation for production of 1500 MWs of power as against 750 MWs since Independence to 2008. He said, whosoever, will inaugurate these projects in near future but the fact is that these projects will give considerable relief to the people on power supply front which has remained troublesome for a long time in the State. Chief Minister said that the development process during the last about six years has been taken to every corner of the State and no area remained out of its range during this period. He said the militancy has reduced by 80 percent and Government's various decisions regarding restoration of peace and tranquility have yielded positive results. Omar said that Rehabilitation Policy for youth who had crossed LoC and wanted to return peacefully was implemented during his tenure. He said 350 youth have returned back under this Policy in dignified way. He said Reservation for Pahari People passed in the current Assembly Session is yet another people-friendly and historic step taken by the Government. He said reservation for OSCs has also been enhanced. Chief Minister stressed for strengthening of institutions and said that they should not be denigrated on personal grounds. 'We should not harm these Institutions by judging these on our personal grounds', he said. 'Success of the Institution does not lie in the success or loss of any person. If we win the election and describe the process rightful and true and if we lose it raise finger against it, that is not the criterion and it tells upon the Institution. The success of Institutions and the success of people is the ultimate goal and these should be the winners in all situations', he added. Omar lauded Speaker, Mubarak Gul, for exhibiting extra-ordinary patience in conducting the Business of the House successfully. He praised him for his balanced approach in accommodating Members of different parties in the debates and discussions. Chief Minister also praised Deputy Speaker, Sartaj Madni for performing his role successfully avoiding collusion between the two aspects of being a political leader of a particular party and a Deputy Speaker of the House at the same time. Omar also thanked Media, Security, Officers, Police, Assembly Secretariat and others who played their role in the conduct of proceedings of the Legislature. Chief Minister thanked the PDP leader, Mehbooba Mufti for keeping him on toes. 'Opposition has this role. Credit for my grey hair goes to her and I will return it to her if I get a chance', he said. Participating in a brief discussion on the last session Legislative Assembly, the leader of opposition Abdul Rehman Veeri said that democracy is the battle of ideas and during the last six years leaders of various political parties fight the political battle without having any personal interest. Veeri also said that Jammu and Kashmir has a unique position in India by having its own constitution but despite having it, they have failed to resolve the Kashmir issue. He said that State has a political problem and it needs to be resolved through political initiatives. He also said that State has number of problems, the problem electricity, industry and the problem of growing corruption. CPI (M) legislator, Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said that some leaders are getting the support of poll boycott and ensuring their victory in the elections. The people should vote and must elect those leaders who will come to their expectations. National Conference legislator, Dr Mustafa Kamaal said that they fought the 1996 elections to keen the institution alive and after certain promised made by then Congress Government. He said that Congress Government had promised them that Indira-Sheikh accord will be restored and then Prime Minister of India Narsimha Roa said that 'Sky is the limit'. Congress senior leader, Mohammad Sharief Niyaz said that it should be the effort and responsibility of every member that the sanctity of the institution should be maintained so that peoples would their faith and trust with it. Independent MLA, Ashwani Kumar Sharma, said that 2002 Assembly elections are historical elections in the State as these elections were held in transparent manner. He also said that former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee told in a public meeting in Srinagar that he is ready to talk every section of the society under the ambit of humanity. MLA Langate, Engineer Rashid said that New Delhi has always ignored genuine aspirations of the people and unless the Kashmir issue is not resolved, peace will not return to the State.